Betel nut farmers in trouble at Raipur
RAIPUR, LAXMIPUR, Apr 11: Despite good productions, betel nut growers of Raipur Upazila in the district are in trouble.
Due to lack of wholesalers and closure of communications, the price of betel nut has fallen.
There are wide range betel nut orchards in the upazila for favourable environment. The businessmen send the locally produced betel nut to different areas of the country.
The skin and the buckles of betel nut are used as raw materials in different factories. The betel nut of the district is big in size and tasty.
Trader Joton of the upazila said the total betel nut business of Raipur is worth Tk 100 crore per year.
There was smile on the faces of the businessmen getting good prices of the betel nut earlier. But since the last month the importers could not come to Raipur due to communication disruption caused by coronavirus situation.
Last year, the businessmen suffered losses as the betel nuts got damp. This year they hoped to recover the losses. They purchased betel nut at Tk 700 to 800 per kahan (1,280 pieces) and kept in water. But they sold these at Tk 300 to 400 counting huge losses.
This year the businessmen were selling per kahan betel nut at Tk 14,000. Some also preserved it in water after purchasing.
Laxmipur is known for coconut and betel nuts. For being tasty, the coconut and betel nuts of this zone have huge demand across the country.
Country's established businessmen collect coconuts and betel nuts from this area, according to Agriculture Officer Hossain Shahid Suhrawardy.
Upazila office sources said there are orchards of betel nuts and coconuts in each home of the upazila.
A total of 10,268 metric tons of betel nut have been produced this year.
When contacted, coconut and betel nut traders said, in October, November and December, after collecting betel nut from different areas of the upazila, including Rakhalia, Haiderganj, Basabari, Boadar and Camperhat at a rate of Tk 350 to 500 per kahan, they preserved these in river, canal, pond and water house. In addition, half of the produces preserved these for drying by the businessmen.
This year, they thought to sell the betel nuts in next June and July expecting good prices. But due to low prices they have sold half of these at the beginning of this year.
Betel nut trader Kabir of Basabari Village said, "Last year, there were not customers to purchase betel nuts even on credit. At that time, we counted losses from the damp betel nuts. We thought that this year we would be able to recover the losses. Now due to coronavirus situation, the betel nuts have become cause of headache."
The presence of customers from different districts is not noticeable, he pointed out.