Only 11% of the district’s Boro paddy had been harvested as of Wednesday while the remaining 89% are still on the fields
Farmers are anticipating a bumper harvest of Boro paddy this year in Rajshahi amid the uncertainty of inclement weather and apprehension of a shortage of labour.
The Boro harvest in Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj was delayed and started late, as paddy was cultivated after the potato harvest this year. For this reason, only 11% of the district’s Boro paddy had been harvested as of Wednesday while the remaining 89% were still out on the fields.
Farmer Abdul Khaleq, of Tanore upazila, said he cultivated Boro on a 30-bigha plot this year. “My crops have ripened and I will start harvesting in a couple of days. But I’m worried if I’ll get enough farmhands with the ongoing countrywide travel ban being in place.”
Meanwhile, farmers in Naogaon and Natore expect to complete their harvest early this season as reaping of paddy in Chalan Beel and other wetlands in Naogaon, Natore and Pabna is in full swing.
However, the Rajshahi district agriculture department says farmers need not worry as within the next 20-25 days they will be able to complete reaping this season’s bumper harvest if the weather is good enough to allow it.
Shamsul Haque, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Extension, Rajshahi, stated that Boro paddy had been cultivated on 66,265 hectares of land in the district this year.
“Farmers have already started harvesting paddy in Chalan Beel region of Naogaon and Natore districts but the harvest of paddy in Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj districts was delayed because paddy was cultivated after the harvesting of potatoes,” he said.
He noted that much like Natore and Naogaon, Rajshahi would not see a shortage of farm labourers.
“As most of the district’s paddy is cultivated in Godagari, Tanore, Mohanpur, Paba and Bagmara upazilas, farmhands from the remaining upazilas are available for hire.”
“Besides, once the farmhands have finished working in Naogaon and Natore, they will travel to Rajshahi to provide assistance.”
Sudhendra Nath Roy, additional director of DAE, Rajshahi region, said farmers of the district were provided with 45 Combine Harvester machines and 40 Reaper machines this year to ease the harvesting of paddy in due time.
A Combine Harvester can harvest, thresh, clean and pack rice on a three-bigha plot of land in only an hour, he added.
In addition to farm labourers, hundreds of unemployed construction workers, brick kilns workers and rickshaw van pullers were now idle in their homes. If needed, those labourers would be employed in harvesting paddy, he said, adding that the Combine Harvester machines and the Reaper machines should also be used properly to bring the paddy home as soon as possible.