Some 0.5 million farmers of Jashore are passing their days in deep worries due to the labour crisis caused by restrictions on movements of people and suspension of transport services, aiming to tamp down the coronavirus spread, UNB reports.
This year, a total of 0.16 million hectares of land have been brought under Boro cultivation in the district and the farmers are expecting a bumper production.
According to sources at the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Boro harvesting has begun in the full swing in many areas.
Talking to the news agency, some farmers said that as movement of vehicles remained suspended for nearly a month and local administrations put their respective areas under lockdowns making it difficult for them to hire workers for harvesting.
According to DAE officials, many workers usually come here in Jashore from northern parts of the country during Boro season. Besides, farmers always hire workers from Satkhira, Kushtia, Pabna and Faridpur districts.
But this time, it will be difficult for the farmers to hire workers due to the current situation.
The authorities concerned of DAE decided to provide some harvesting machines to some farmers at a subsidised rate. They have made a list of 24 people and sent a letter to the agriculture minister seeking 12 harvesting machines.
The DAE sources said they provided 38 harvesting machines to different upazilas of the district in the last five years during.
Talking to the news agency, some farmers like Obaidul Islam and Zinnat Ali of Sadar upazila said they have failed to collect money though they are trying hard to do that for purchasing machines.
Zinnat Ali, a farmer of Khajura Koyerpara, said at least nine people are needed for harvesting paddy from one bigha of land.
Siddique Mia, a farmer of Jhikorgachcha upazila, said, “I’ve failed to collect money for purchasing a harvesting machine.”
Khalid Saifullah, Sadar Upazila agricultural officer, said some 18 million workers are needed for harvesting paddy from 1.2 million bighas of land in the district. The family members of the farmers also have come forward with workers to harvest paddy as soon as possible, he said.
“We’re trying our best so that no-one has to face any problem in harvesting paddy. Workers will be brought under special managements for harvesting paddy from other districts,” he added
“Besides, we’re trying to engage those people sitting idle amid the coronavirus outbreak,” said Khalid.
Dr Akteruzzaman, deputy director at Jashore DAE, said, “Currently, many people in Keshabpur upazila have become unemployed and they will be hired as they expressed their willingness for jobs.”
Farm workers will be hired from Satkhira as well, he said, adding, “If workers could be hired from other places and harvesting machines could be used properly, then there will be no crisis.”