Dearth of farm labourers hampers Aman harvest
Acute shortage of farm labourers is seriously hampering Aman paddy harvest in Noakhali this year.
While visiting Subarnachar, Hatiya and Companiganj upazilas a couple of days ago, most of the farmers told this correspondent that they could not reap their paddy in time due to a dearth of day labourers.
They said about 35 to 38 day-labourers are needed to harvest crop from one hectare of land.
“Though we get some labourers, they charge too much that we cannot afford by any means,” the farmers said, adding that a labourer is charging Tk 300 a day against Tk 225 last year.
The mid-level farmers are the worst sufferers as they cannot harvest their paddy in time because of unaffordable labour cost, the farmers added.
Master Tariq Ullah, Chairman of Char Jabbar Union Parishad, said the situation has arisen, as most of the labourers have changed their profession and moved to different parts of the country to earn their livelihood as there was no work during the lean period.
They migrate to cities and other districts and earn wages by pulling rickshaw or working at brickfields, mills and garment factories, the UP chairman said.
Md Abdus Sobhan, a former union parishad member of Purba Char Bata union Parishad under Subarnachar upazila, said wage hike will push up their production cost this year.
The farmers of Char Bogadiya, Hazipur and Noapara under Subarnachar upazila; Nalerchar, Boyarchar, Jahajmara and Oskhali under Hatiya upazilla; Musapur, Char Elahi, Serajpur, Maniknagar and Char Boishaki under Companiganj upazila, have also expressed their anxieties as paddy harvesting is going very slow due to lake of sufficient labourers.
Abdur Rahim, a farmer of Jahajmara village under Hatiya upazila, said many farmers in the upazila have been compelled to harvest Aman paddy on their own. After harvesting, the farmers take their paddy to their homes in rickshaw vans, carts and power trolleys, he said.