JESSORE, Apr 30: Despite extreme heat wave across the country with its highest temperature of 38.4? Celsius in Jessore, the farmers here are passing their busy times in harvesting Boro paddy amid festivity, according to sources.
The greater expectation of bumper yield than that of the last year has raised the confidence level of the farmers. Imbibed by immense aspiration of good harvesting, paddy farmers have engaged labourers at high price, the sources pointed out.
Last year, farmers incurred losses as the price of the paddy went low, but this year the current market price is Tk 800 per maund that has inspired farmers to earn more, farmers informed.
But the arrival of harvesting period is accompanied by more and more demand of labourers involving high cost. Most of the labourers, rushing from south-western regions like Assasuni, Debhata, Tala, and Kaliganj upazilas of Satkhira district, throng here everyday after sunrise with an aim to be engaged by big and medium class farmers.
The south-western region is a shrimp-culture-based area. But, at this time of the year, there is no work at the areas; so they work at different Boro paddy fields of Jessore district at this season to maintain their livelihood.
According to Jessore Regional Agriculture Office, Boro paddy was cultivated in 3 lakh 14 thousand and 995 hectares of land under six districts of Jessore region during 2015-16 fiscal year. Of those, highest 43,540 hectares of land was brought under Boro cultivation in Jessore district, and less cultivation was recorded in Meherpur district with 17,150 hectares of land.
Additional Director of Jessore Regional Agriculture Office Nitya Ranjan said, "Despite massive storm here, the production of Boro paddy was good. Till now 30 per cent of the paddy was harvested. Had the heat wave not prevailed, 50 per cent crops would have been harvested."
Sakhawat of Shalkona village under Sharsha upazila of the district said, "I have cultivated Boro paddy in 16 bighas of land. The yield was good. Per maund Miniket paddy is being sold at Tk 800, Basmoti at Tk 850, and coarse paddy at Tk 700. Last year, per maund paddy was sold at Tk 500 to 550."
The agriculture labourers' haat is held on the Navaron-Satkhira crossing of Sharsha upazila daily from sunrise till sunset. The farm owners across bigger areas from Sharsha to Jikhargachha generally hire farm labourers from this haat. This haat will continue till the end of the Boro paddy harvesting season.
The labourers coming here are mostly teenagers, youths and aged. All wait for farm owners. After bargaining the owners hire them. These labourers get about Tk 3,000 to 3,800 each for working at different steps of the harvesting process.
Mizanur Rahman, coming to this haat from Dihi union of Sharsha upazila, said that he has been looking for labourers for the last three days, but despite offering Tk 4,000 in per bigha, he is not getting the labourers.
Kamal Hossain of Benapole, who cultivated Boro paddy in 15 bighas of land this year, narrated how he hired a group of five labourers.
Noor Hossain of Khanpur area in Shyamnagar upazila under Shatkhira district gave a roundup of the ongoing harvesting in the area.