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Guava growers deprived of fair price in Jhalakati

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A Correspondent
Jhalakathi: Guava growers in the district are being deprived of fair price of their produce due to communication problem.
Sources concerned said for the development of the communication system in the district, especially the part covering the guava growing areas, Jica (Japan International Cooperation Agency) started implementing a project one year ago. Then guava growers hoped that they would be able to earn good profit by sending their produce to different districts, including Dhaka using the roadways, after the implementation of the project financed by Japan.
However, construction work of the two kilometre road from Bawkathi to Bhimruli, main floating market of guava, and four bridges has remained stuck halfway, hampering the road communication between guava growing regions and other parts of the country.
The expenditure of the construction work project was fixed at Tk five crore.
Guava growers said due to communication hindrance, they are being deprived of getting fair price of their produce.
They said guava is grown in the orchards at 36 villages in Sadar upazila and Sharupkathi upazila.
Farmers of the villages cultivate guava as the main cash crop.
Guava grower Niranchan Ghorami at Jhagadishpur in Sadar upazila said this year buds have fallen off guava trees due to prolonged dry spell in first phase during Chaitra-Baishak period.
He, however, said they have got good yield as guava trees flowered profusely in second phase.
Some traders said demand for guava is high as some food companies like Pran Food Products Company are purchasing the item from the floating market of the popular fruit.
Guava sells at throwaway prices on the day when the representatives of the companies do not come to buy the fruit.
The fruit is being sold at different small markets at Athghar, Kuriana, Bhimruli, Ata, Jamua, Shatdashkathi and Jhagadishpur of the fruit growing region.
The biggest floating market of guava in the region is located at Bhimruli where growers from different villages bring guava to sell.
Nirmal Bepary who came to the market to sell guava said he has guava orchard covering three bighas of lands.
He said they are not happy with the market price of guava.
Samresh Halder who cultivates the fruit on his two bighas of land said they are not getting fair price of their produce due to lack of bridges on the road connecting with Bhimruli market.
Wholesaler Nurul Amin who came from Bhola to buy the fruit at the market said with the start of guava season, he comes to the market every year to buy the fruit.
Asked about the fruit price, he said guave is being sold for Tk80-400 per maund.
Deputy director of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) office in Jhalakathi Abdul Aziz Farazi said growers have got good yield of guava this year, adding that the quality of harvested fruit is also good.
He, however, said growers are not getting fair price of their produce as the road construction project is yet to be completed.
He also suggested setting up fruit processing factory in the region to ensure fair price of guava.