SYLHET, Apr 23: Boro farmers of Sylhet division are suffering acute shortage of day labourers during the current harvesting season.
Sources said paddy growers of the region are in difficult situation for shortage of farm labourers and high cost. The scenario is serious in Sunamganj. Most of the paddy farmers are suffering a severe crisis of labourers as a good number of poor people had left their homesteads after the last year's devastating flood.
Besides, thousands of labourers from other regions like Cumilla, Bogura, Rangpur and Mymensingh used to come to this region for seasonal job of paddy harvest and made a handsome amount of money. Sometimes many of them were given advance payments months ahead of the season. But with creation of local jobs and better opportunities, most of them didn't come this year although there has been a local crisis too, a number of people informed.
Habibur Rahman of Derai upazila said he has started harvesting paddy three days ago. He has hired 10 people from Sylhet at higher rate.
He said a good number of farmers may be affected storm and rain if they cannot complete their harvest in time.
In this situation, local administration has stopped the sand extraction from quarries in Tahirpur and Jamalganj upazilas for 10 days as about 50,000 labourers are engaged in sand extraction and transportation process.
Additional Director of DAE, Sylhet division Md Altabur Rahman admitted the shortage of farm labourers this season. He said some mechanised harvest equipment for the lower region have already been supplied at subsidised rate. A combined harvester is being given at 70 per cent discount for the less privileged areas like haor region, he added.
Meanwhile, Naogaon correspondent adds: Farmers of all the eleven upazilas of the district have started harvesting early planted Jira Shail Boro.
Production of the paddy variety is good this season. The DAE provided all necessary support in this regard, said sub-assistance agriculture officer Mr Rabby.
Jira Shail and Brri Dhan-28 are the popular variety in the area due to high yield and fair market price. Farmer can harvest the crop after 90 to 100 days of its cultivation.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) office the farmers of the district have brought some 0.19 million hectares of land under Boro farming this season with the production target of over 0.7 tonnes.
The peasants have already harvested over 1,900 hectares of land. Harvesting is going on in full swing amid availability of sufficient farm labourers.
"I have cultivated seven bigha of land under Jira Shail Boro this season and got a good yield", said farmer Altaf Hossain of Naogaon Sadar upazila. The grower expressed the hope to make a handsome profit from the produce.
Deputy director of DAE Manjit Kumar Mallik said the farmers are harvesting their produce with deep enthusiasm. Present market price of paddy is also satisfactory.
Meanwhile, BSS adds: In Jamalpur, cultivators of the district are expecting a bumper production of Boro paddy during the current season.
Farmers have stated harvesting Boro in their fields and already harvested the paddy from 1,000 hectares of land till April 23.
The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) office sources said farmers cultivated Boro on 1,31,830 hectares of land with the production target of 6,04,904 tonnes of rice in the district.
Sub Assistant Agriculture Officer of DAE Emran Hossain said this year Boro was cultivated on 2,875 hectares more land than the target.
Of the total land, hybrid variety on 24,850 hectares of land with the production target of 97,660 tonnes of rice, High Yielding Variety (HYV) on 1,06,278 hectares with the production target of 5,05,883 tonnes of rice and local variety on 720 hectares with the production target of 1,361 tonnes of rice, he said.
DAE office sources said farmers in the district cultivated about 100 varieties of Boro paddy. Most of the farmers cultivated BRRI-29 and BRRI-28 varieties paddy. BRRI-29 was cultivated on 49,426 hectares and BRRI-28 on 46,998 hectares of land.
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