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Farmer sets own paddy field on fire in protest

  • Published at 11:32 pm May 12th, 2019
web-tangail boro roce
A farmer sets fire on his paddy field in Tangail on Sunday, May 12, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in the district, farmers of 12 upazilas in Tangail planted Boro paddy on some 1,71,702 hectares

Protesting the fall in coarse paddy prices and the scarcity of day labourers in Tangail, a farmer has set his Boro paddy field on fire.

Farmer Abdul Malek Shikder of Bankina village in Kalahati upazila took this path of protest on Sunday.

Abdul Malek said: “The government has fixed the price of coarse paddy price at TK500 per maund. We have to pay a day labourer TK850 a day to harvest paddy. There are others costs too, to process the paddy.  We can’t even find day labourers at such high wages. We can’t harvest properly and in a timely manner, so I set half an acre of my paddy on fire.”

According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in the district, farmers of 12 upazilas in Tangail planted Boro paddy on some 1,71,702 hectares. 

Farmers are expecting a bumper yield this year and around 30% of the crop has already been harvested, according to DAE sources.

“But farmers in the district are unable to harvest the remaining 70 per cent due to the shortage of day labourers this year,” said Abdul Malek.

In some cases, farmers can’t manage to hire day labourers in spite of offering high wages. “So ripe Boro paddy is rotting in the fields,” he said.

Md Abdur Razzaq, DAE deputy director, said: “The price of coarse paddy has somewhat fallen this year. But if the farmers can hold and store the paddy for a short while, they will get better prices.”

However, he did acknowledge there is a shortage of day labourers in the district.