By expelling a grassroots leader on charges of launching movement for fertilizer in Jamalpur, Awami League wants to send a message that none can take to the streets demanding fertilizer. But the expulsion of a party leader could not prevent the movement of general farmers as they are not the members of any party.
The farmers are not demanding any extra facilities. Rather they want to buy fertilizer in price fixed by the government. Fertilizer is every essential for the cultivation of aman, potato and vegetables in this season.
Farmers are not getting fertilizer from the dealers on the one hand and a section of unscrupulous businessmen are hoarding fertilizer and later selling at higher price on the other hand. Expressing concerns a farmer at Lahiri area of Baliadangi in Thakurgaon, said dealers have no fertilizer. However, fertilizer is available at the retailers. Although the price of 50-kg sack of MOP fertilizer at the farmer level is fixed at Tk 750 by the government, but the price is being charged for Tk 1600 to 1700.
Naogaon farmers alleged they are unable to collect fertilizer despite queuing up in a line for five to six hours. Many farmers are waiting hours after hours in front of dealers' shops while some are returning without getting any fertilizer. Agriculture extension department officials said there is no crisis of fertilizer.
Why the farmers are not getting fertilizer if there is no crisis? Why the farmers are forced to buy fertilizer at higher price from the black market? Again it is also seen where there is a demonstration and protest, fertilizer is sent there. Where is the wrong? Muriate of potash (MOP) has to be given within 30 to 35 days after planting saplings. If the farmers are supplied fertilizer after this certain period, it will not come to use.
According to Prothom Alo report, 800 sacks of TSP and 260 sacks of MOP are seized in Gaibandah and Naogaon and the people liable are fined by the mobile court. But those who are making millions of Taka cashing on the crisis of fertilizer don't care this as a punishment.
The policymakers of the government should remember that farmers were shot dead for launching movement for fertilizer during the BNP regime. Nobody wants that sort of incidents over fertilizer. The law against hoarding has to be applied properly and exemplary punishment has to be meted out against hoarders.
In this context, the government has to carry out two tasks. Firstly, fertilizer has to be supplied to farmers immediately. This is the way to stop movement of the farmers and to increase agro-products.
Secondly, people concerned have to remain alert so that the cultivation of the farmers is not hampered and the monitoring has to be strengthened.
If they don't have adequate manpower, they can take assistance from UNO and the administration. If the fertilizer is not supplied timely, not only the farmers will be affected, our food security will also be at risk.