Boro paddy harvesting has begun in Bogura district amid an acute shortage of farm labourers as the labourers from different adjacent districts could not visit the region due to the ongoing pandemic-induced lockdown.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Bogura, farmers of the district brought more than 188,750 hectares of land under Boro rice cultivation with over 0.8 million tonnes production target in this season.
To harvest paddy in time, over 0.1 million labourers come every season from Gaibandha, Naogaon, Panchagarh, Nilphamari, Kurigram, Rangpur and Dinajpur districts.
Boro paddy growers are suffering a lot as day labourers are not available as per demand, DAE added.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, labour transportation is being seriously hampered in Dupchanchia, Kahaloo, Sherpur, Sonatola, Sariakandi, Dhunot, Nandigram, Gabtoli and sadar upazilas of the district.
To ease suffering for labour crisis, combined harvester machines have been distributed among the farmers at subsidised price by the Department of Agriculture Extension. But the present number of combined harvester machines would not meet the full demand of labourers, said farmers.
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder inaugurated the collection of paddy through a virtual programme on the Upazila Food Warehouse premises.
Paddy will be collected from the farmers at the rate of Tk28 per kg.
While visiting the Mathurapur area, this correspondent found paddy growers seeking day labourers who come from different parts of the district early in the morning and at late night.
But, they were not getting adequate number of labourers to harvest their paddy in time.
"I have brought 10 bighas of land under Boro cultivation this season aiming good profit spending Tk0.1 million," said farmer Saiful Islam of Dupchanchia upazila.
He also said, "Due to frequent natural calamities, the farmers are trying to grow the golden crop before the rainy season."
DAE official sources said the price of newly-harvested paddy at the growers' level is Tk 900 to Tk 1,200. The farmers are happy getting a fair price, the sources added.