Seed crisis

Published: Wednesday 31 December 2003

-- Usually, end-November/December is a busy one for cultivators in Kurigram district of northern Bangladesh: it is time to sow the boro (winter) rice. But this year, as the sowing deadline loomed, an unaccountable shortage of paddy seeds occurred, threatening to throw the cultivation season out of gear. The seeds were supposed to be made available by the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (badc) at its sales centers, but farmers had to return empty-handed after standing in queues for a long time.

This crisis further exacerbates the famine-like conditions that have hit the entire region. And as people in Kurigram reel under the double crisis, black marketers are making a killing, selling a 10-kg sack of boro seed at Taka 230 or Rs 185 (the badc's fixed rate is Taka 180, or Rs 145). Of course, the badc denies any such activity is going on. Indeed, at some sales centers, they even denied there was a seed crisis, in the face of evidence to the contrary. It's obvious that the future of the region is quite bleak.

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