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The additional cost of irrigation for the farmers in this Boro season will be Tk 7.56 billion. Fertilizer and pesticide prices are on the rise. In all, the production cost per kg of paddy is increasing by Tk one to two per year. Last season, the production cost of Boro paddy increased by Tk 27 per kg. In other words, the cost per maund of paddy production was Tk 1080. This time the production cost will shoot up more as the cost of irrigation increases.

In India, farmers are constantly agitating for a fair price for agricultural products. But the farmers of Bangladesh are not organised. There is no one to speak for them. The helpless farmers will either accept the decision of the government or they will reduce irrigation. In that case the cost of production will further increase. The crop production will also decrease if they reduce irrigation.

To protect the farmers from this hardship, the government must subsidise diesel prices for the farmers. Otherwise, the continuous advancements we have achieved in agriculture will be ruined. The government needs to keep in mind that agriculture is one of the major sectors that has kept Bangladesh's economy afloat even during this corona period. These farmers have saved 170 million people amid various natural calamities.

Earlier the government used to give subsidy on diesel price for the irrigation facilities of the farmers. The subsidy was later withdrawn due to allegations of irregularities. Farmers are getting fertiliser at subsidised price, though. At present the price of fertiliser is increasing in the international market. In this situation, the government must first ensure that the price of fertiliser does not rise in any way. Secondly, the government must offer subsidy on diesel.

Most of the total rice produced in Bangladesh is Boro. Water used for paddy produced during monsoon is available from rivers and rains. But Boro paddy cultivation has to depend entirely on irrigation. Therefore, the government should pay attention so that the production of agriculture, especially in Boro season, does not decrease due to the hike in the price of diesel. At least the price of diesel which has been increased should be subsidised to the farmers. The rice production has to be maintained.

Government policymakers cite the example of India in favour of raising fuel prices. But they do forget that India is selling diesel to farmers at affordable prices. In order to protect agriculture and farmers, the government has to come out of this self-contradiction.

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