Labour shortage likely to hit Bengal rabi paddy harvest

Harvesting of boro paddy in West Bengal, established to begin in about a week, is very likely to be hampered by labour lack as most of the staff have long gone to their villages following the pandemic scare.

The State governing administration is trying to deal with the manpower lack by deploying additional mix harvesters.

Govt arrangements

In accordance to Pradip Kumar Mazumder, Main Advisor (Agriculture) to the Main Minister, the State has near to 2,five hundred mix harvesters and it attempted to induct some far more just right before the Covid-19 lockdown was imposed. Regional labourers are available for harvesting and some migrant labourers, who acquired caught at potato harvesting, will also be made use of for harvesting of boro paddy.

“We are holding our ears to the floor. Dependent on the predicament, we have to just take selections but as of now, we sense the predicament is a manageable, if not relaxed,” Mazumder advised BusinessLine.

West Bengal generates 15-sixteen million tonnes of paddy on a yearly basis in a few seasons that contain aus, aman and boro. The kharif paddy (aus and aman) output accounts for about 70 for each cent of the complete generation in the State. Boro paddy is usually cultivated on land which has canal or irrigation facility. The sowing of boro paddy, just like that of potato, was staggered this 12 months on account of uncommon temperature conditions.

However harvesting will begin by future week, it will peak by April-end or early Could.

Price escalation

Although the use of mix harvesters will be certain that harvesting is not hampered significantly, it will push up the expense of generation.

“Many paddy reducing devices have been introduced from north Indian States these as Punjab and Haryana. In a normal 12 months, if 50 for each cent of harvesting is accomplished by devices, this 12 months it would be 90 for each cent. It will improve the expense of paddy sold to millers, which will eventually consequence in increased rates for rice,” mentioned Suraj Agarwal, CEO, Tirupati Agri Trade.

The over-all expense of harvesting is very likely to improve by all over twenty for each cent. The rental expense of devices are significant due to the lockdown. Labour expense is also very likely to double due to the lack. This apart, the transportation expense of paddy from farms to warehouses and then to rice mills will also be increased.


Paddy procurement will begin in the 1st week of Could. The Bengal governing administration usually gives incentivised MSP to individuals coming to procurement centres to include the expense of transportation. In view of the Covid-19 predicament, the State governing administration is also thinking about the possibility of buying up paddy from farmers’ houses, if want arises.

“If the lockdown proceeds in Could, transportation could be an challenge. The Main Minister has instructed that we plan to decide on up paddy from far-flung villages and gram panchayats. The additional expense of procurement will be borne by the State and we are planning for that,” Mazumder mentioned.

In accordance to Sushil Kumar Choudhury, President, Bengal Rice Mills Association, mills are yet to get “clear guidelines” from the State governing administration on procurement.

Cell application

The governing administration is also mulling the possibility of rolling out a cellular application for farmers to location requests for collection of foodgrain from their doorstep.

“Usually the BDO informs farmers in a specific village about rice mills starting their procurement. Now this would be facilitated by a cellular application. Having said that, we want to see how adept the individuals in villages are when it comes to technological innovation adoption,” Choudhury mentioned.

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