Pabna, Bangladesh – Sidiqur Moyez’ farm has not seen such tough times since the huge 1998 floods in Bangladesh wiped out his fruits.
This time his crop is perfect. However, much of it is going to waste in the hot sun in northern Bangladesh. Ongoing political turmoil has led to violence and mass strikes, which have hampered rural communities – especially farmers like Moyez who can’t get his produce to market.
Moyez and his wife stroll through fields of bananas, lychees, potatoes, eggplants, and goji berries – 60 hectares of healthy, abundant produce.
But soon they come across a pile of potatoes rotting in the sun as flies buzz overhead. The vegetables went bad because Moyez couldn’t get the potatoes to the market on time. Now, his workers are frantically picking through the decaying piles to gather what is salvageable.
The previous two days have seen the roads surrounding his farm abandoned, everyone fearful of driving. Opposition parties had imposed a hartal – the local term for a general strike – which often turn violent with activists throwing small explosives at vehicles to enforce the shutdown.