Labourer crisis hits T-Aman harvesting at Pirganj
PIRGANJ, RANGPUR, Nov 22: Labourer crisis is hampering Transplanted Aman (T-Aman) harvesting in Pirganj Upazila of the district this season.
The crisis has been created due to the Employment Generation Programme for the Poorest (EGPP). The programme is continuing in this high time of the T-Aman season.
In this situation, some of the farmers are sceptical whether they would be able to bring their products to their houses at all. The main problem is related to the extra money they pay to the labourers for harvesting.
According to the Upazila Agriculture Department data, T-Aman was cultivated in 25,260 hectares (ha) of land here this year. But flood destroyed 1,950 ha of land. It is now the full time to harvest the paddy.
According to the Upazila Project Implementation Office data, EGPP has begun from Nov 14 in the upazila, and will continue for 40 working days. A total of 4,709 male and female labourers from 15 unions of the upazila are working under this programme.
On Wednesday, a visit to Baradargah, Vendabari, Pirganj, Kumedpur, Mithipur, Shanerhat and Chaitrakol unions found 80 per cent of the T-Aman fields have fully ripened. But labourer crisis is affecting the harvesting from these fields. Yet harvesting was seen going on in limited scale with few labourers in some places. Also it was seen that family members themselves were harvesting.
But it is not possible to finish the harvesting by inadequate numbers of labourers or family members, growers expressed concern.
Bigger farming families are passing time in utter worries. In fact, they are facing the hindrance created by the EGPP. General farmers, like Salam, Joynal and Nazmul of Mararpara, Mushfiqur of Chapabari villages echoed the same concern.
This year, farmers are paying Tk 3,000 to each labourer for harvesting 50 per cent of their fields, which is Tk 1,000 more than last year's.
If the programme is suspended for the time being, the labourer crisis will be reduced by a bit.
Bara Alampur Union Parishad Chairman Hafizur Rahman said the implementation of EGPP will hamper Aman harvesting.
According to him, if the operation is suspended for the harvesting time, labourers will shift to Aman harvesting.
Upazila Agriculture Officer Sadequzzaman Sarker said the EGPP will not have much impact on the Aman paddy harvest.