The farmers were ecstatic about the helping hand
Deputy Commissioner Gopal Chandra Das has shown his support for marginalized and helpless farmers in Chuadanga—in the midst of a labour shortage—by harvesting paddy alongside labourers.
The deputy commissioner—along with Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) Khandakar Farhad Ahmed and Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) Mohammad Yahya Khan—headed to Jibonnagar to inaugurate a paddy collection campaign during the Boro season on Tuesday.
On their way, they stopped at a place called Peyaratala when Gopal Chandra saw a woman named Jebunnessa harvesting paddy—from a field on the side of the road—and joined her.
Upazila Parishad Chairman Haji Hafizur Rahman, Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md Sirajul Islam Khan, Agriculture Officer Sharmin Akhter came to the spot and harvested paddy willingly—free of wages—alongside the deputy commissioner.
The farmers were ecstatic at this helping hand extended towards them during their times of trouble, as the Chuadanga deputy commissioner stood beside these farmers with the slogan “farmers are not alone; we are always by their side.”
Jebunnessa, the paddy field owner, said: “I was unable to harvest the ripe paddy in my field due to the labour shortage, which is why my son and I were working in the field today.
“Just moments after, the deputy commissioner and his officials harvested the remaining paddy of our land.”
Deputy Commissioner Gopal Chandra Das said, "We are also children of the farmers. I find myself fortunate that I was able to stand by the farmers side during these times of crisis.
"Farmers have fallen into a temporary labor crisis, which will probably pass by. Additionally, with the introduction of the rice collection campaign, we believe that farmers will get fair prices and the price of rice produced will increase.”
Chuadanga farmers have been experiencing an extreme shortage of labour and scarcity in paddy prices throughout the district—as well as the whole country—during the ongoing Boro season. They are also worried about the adverse weather conditions.
Over the past three weeks, a bountiful harvest has been overshadowed by the grief, and travesty of rice farmers throughout Bangladesh.
Protests have erupted in villages, towns, districts, and in Dhaka as well. In some areas, a standout form of protest has been to set a rice field on fire in order to send a very clear message: selling at current prices is the worst option.
Farmers are demanding purchases be made directly from farms, and that crops be sold at a fair price.
Currently, paddy is sold wholesale at Tk450 to 500 for every maund (1 maund=40kg). Many farmers have said the cost of harvesting each maund of paddy is between Tk1,000 toTk1,500. Other reports say that farmers will suffer a loss of at least Tk300/maund if they sell paddy at current market price.
There are growing concerns that the crisis of paddy prices may force farmers to shift away from rice to other cash crops.