Students are voluntarily harvesting paddy in Tangail and Mymensingh to help farmers who are hit hard by low price.
Lately, the farmers’ plight came to limelight as media reports of a farmer in Tangail’s Kalihati spraying kerosene on a part of his field and setting fire to ripe paddy had surfaced. The farmer, Abdul Malek Shikder, said the burden of low price had led him to do it.
Triggered by a video of the incident, a dozen students of Government Saadat College, Government MM Ali College, and Lion Nazrul Islam College yesterday voluntarily worked on Abdul Malek’s field.
“I had set my paddy field on fire out of frustration. But I did not expect that this would move so many hearts. I am quite surprised and happy to see the students,” Malek told this paper.
“There is little scope for farmers to profit this year. We are harvesting paddy for him in solidarity with his protest,” said Al Amin, a student of Government MM Ali College.
Members of Herald Open Scout Group are lending their hands to farmers at Mymensingh’s Phulpur upazila.
Yesterday, they worked on a 60-decimal cropland owned by Shahida Akter at Horirampur village. A widow, Shahida said, “I was in a lot of trouble. Assistance from the scouts brought relief.”
On Monday, similar activities were done on 80 decimal land of farmer Abu Bakar Siddique, who is suffering from cancer.
Herald Open Scout Group were aiming to help at least 25 farmers, the group’s co-chairman Atiqur Rahman Atik told this paper.
Member Secretary Tashfiq Haque opined that there were not enough initiatives in place to ensure fair prices of crops.
President Md Abdul Khaleque said, “Harvesting paddy is not an easy task and the children [the students] do not know how to handle the job. So, we are supervising them.”
“We will continue this activity for the for the next 10 days,” said Khaleque, also a member of the district council.
Md Abdul Mazed, deputy director at the Department of Agricultural Extension in Mymensingh, said, “This year, farmers across the country are facing a tough situation as they have to pay a day labourer Tk 800-1000. But the price of paddy is ranging between Tk 400-500 per maund [40 kilograms] which is around Tk 200 less than the production cost.”