Maize farmers in Khashrajbari Char of Sirajganj's Kazipur upazila are not getting fair prices of their produce in the absence of adequate market facilities.
They mostly sell their produce at Pirgachha Bazar. They have to embark on a two-hour boat ride before boarding a horse cart to travel another kilometre to reach Kazipur Bazar, the mainland marketplace.
The farmers said neither they have enough marketplaces nor good communication system. Therefore, they are not getting expected prices despite having excellent production as many of them have to sell their produce to middlemen at low prices.
They demand some big firms be allowed to do business in the char area to ensure fair prices for their produce.
Kazipur Upazila Agriculture Officer Rezaul Karim said, "We talked to several companies. If we can contact farmers through them, the farmers' earnings will increase by 20 percent."
If the marketing problem is solved, farmers will get more prices of maize, Rezaul said.
A proposal has been drafted to set up a wholesale market in the Meghaighat area to this effect, he added.
However, Ayub Ali, an official of the Department of Agricultural Marketing in Sirajganj, said no proposal has been submitted to the government yet.
Maize production has doubled after farmers received a training under a project titled "Making Markets for the Jamuna, Padma and Teesta chars" jointly run by the Rural Development Academy in Bogura and the Swiss Development Cooperation.
Some 1,500 families have become solvent through the maize cultivation.
Farmer Mokbul Hossain said, "Every year we struggle over selling our produce with a very poor marketing facilities. The communication system also is bad."
The farmers at the char area grow maize on 700 hectares of land. They get 12 tonnes of maize on average from per hectare. They can fetch good profits as the cultivation does not require much cost.
Farmer Rina Khatun, who helps her day-labourer husband in maize cultivation, said they sold five tonnes of maize at Tk500 per maund whereas the same sold at Tk600 in Kazipur Bazar.
"Despite bumper production, we have to depend on middlemen to sell our produce. In fact, we are in the dark over the actual market situation."
Many other farmers echoed the same sentiment.