Farmers in many areas have started harvesting Boro paddy.
Unlike last year, farmers of most areas are not facing any crisis of labour. Furthermore, many affluent farmers are now using combine harvesters to smoothen their harvesting.
Combine harvester is a versatile machine for reaping, threshing, and winnowing.
Last year, farm labourers faced difficulties going from one place to another as there was a countrywide shutdown due to the pandemic.
However, some farmers said they are not getting required labourers, though agriculture officers said it would not be a major problem.
In Netrakona and Kishoreganj, around 30 percent of paddy in Chhayer Haor, Boali Haor, Pangashyar Haor and Kitonkhola Haor areas have already been harvested.
The harvest, which started towards the end of March, will continue till the end of this month, said Habibur Rahman, agriculture officer in Netrakona’s Khaliajury upazila.
Abdus Shakur Saadi, agricultural extension officer in Netrakona’s Mohanganj, said as labourers from Sirajganj, Rangpur and Kurigram reached the haor areas around 15 days ago, there is no crisis of labourers.
Besides, combine harvesters are acting as helping hands, he said, adding that a harvester could reap and thresh paddy of an acre of land in an hour.
The paddy is being sold between Tk 850 and Tk 880 a maund, said a 55-year-old Ratan Mia of Magan village in Mohanganj upazila.
The farmer said if proper transportation of paddy to market is ensured, they will get fair prices of their produce.
In Sunamganj and Sylhet, farmers are reaping paddy in a festive atmosphere this year.
As farmers got fair prices of their produce last year, they became interested in cultivating the paddy this year. That is why, this year’s Boro production is satisfactory.
There is no crisis of labour this year. Furthermore, many farmers are using combine harvesters. The process of Boo harvesting is going on smoothly, said officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).
Around 275 combine harvesters are currently being used in Sunamganj and 111 in Sylhet for harvesting Boro.
“I faced an acute shortage of labour during Boro harvesting season. Then, I bought a combine harvester which served me well last year. I’m getting benefit from this machine this year too,” said Selim Raza Chowdhury, a farmer of Sukhair Razapur Uttar village in Sunamganj’s Dharmapasha.
Farmer Jashim Uddin Talukder of Laksmibaor village in Sunamganj’s Chhatak said, “This year’s production and labour costs are high. We will face trouble if we don’t get fair prices for our produce.”
DAE officials said they expected to have produced around 8,85,000 tonnes of paddy this year in Sunamganj and around 3,12,000 tonnes in Sylhet.
Of the paddy, 11 percent has already been harvested in Sunamganj and 21 percent in Sylhet, added the officials.
Contacted, Faridul Hasan, deputy director of Sunamganj DAE, said there was no labour crisis this year. But this year’s labour wage was high.
Salah Uddin, deputy director of Sylhet DAE, said along with farm labourers, a large number of tea garden workers have joined the paddy harvest, resulting in no labour crisis.
In Moulvibazar, farmers said they are not getting labourers for reaping paddy in Hakaluki Haor area.
Shafiq Mia, a farmer of Islamganj village in Kulaura upazila, said, “I have cultivated Boro paddy in three acres. I have planned to start harvesting the paddy within next two days. But I am not finding labourers.”
Another farmer Sachindra Kumar Das of the area made the similar statement over getting labourers.
“Those who used to work in my farmland are now engaged in sand and stone lifting work. That is why, I am facing severe crisis of labour,” he told The Daily Star.
Contacted, Kazi Lutful Bari, deputy director of Moulvibazar DAE, admitted that farmers might not get the required number of labourers. But he claimed it would not make any major problem because farmers could harvest their paddy with the help of combine harvesters.
[Our correspondents from Mymensingh, Sylhet and Moulvibazar contributed to this report.]