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Labour shortage likely to hit Bengal rabi paddy harvest

Harvesting of boro paddy in West Bengal, established to get started in about a 7 days, is probable to be hampered by labour shortage as most of the employees have gone to their villages subsequent the pandemic scare.

The Condition government is making an attempt to deal with the manpower shortage by deploying supplemental combine harvesters.

Govt preparations

According to Pradip Kumar Mazumder, Chief Advisor (Agriculture) to the Chief Minister, the Condition has shut to 2,500 combine harvesters and it tried out to induct some more just just before the Covid-19 lockdown was imposed. Community labourers are accessible for harvesting and some migrant labourers, who acquired trapped at potato harvesting, will also be utilised for harvesting of boro paddy.

“We are keeping our ears to the ground. Relying on the predicament, we have to choose conclusions but as of now, we really feel the predicament is a workable, if not relaxed,” Mazumder instructed BusinessLine.

West Bengal provides 15-sixteen million tonnes of paddy yearly in three seasons that include aus, aman and boro. The kharif paddy (aus and aman) output accounts for about 70 for every cent of the full manufacturing in the Condition. Boro paddy is commonly cultivated on land which has canal or irrigation facility. The sowing of boro paddy, just like that of potato, was staggered this year on account of unconventional temperature conditions.

While harvesting will get started by up coming 7 days, it will peak by April-finish or early May.

Cost escalation

Even though the use of combine harvesters will be certain that harvesting is not hampered a great deal, it will force up the value of manufacturing.

“Many paddy chopping machines have been introduced from north Indian States this kind of as Punjab and Haryana. In a ordinary year, if fifty for every cent of harvesting is performed by machines, this year it would be ninety for every cent. It will boost the value of paddy bought to millers, which will ultimately outcome in larger costs for rice,” claimed Suraj Agarwal, CEO, Tirupati Agri Trade.

The all round value of harvesting is probable to boost by close to twenty for every cent. The rental value of machines are significant because of to the lockdown. Labour value is also probable to double because of to the shortage. This aside, the transportation value of paddy from farms to warehouses and then to rice mills will also be larger.


Paddy procurement will get started in the initial 7 days of May. The Bengal government commonly provides incentivised MSP to individuals coming to procurement centres to include the value of transportation. In see of the Covid-19 predicament, the Condition government is also contemplating the probability of selecting up paddy from farmers’ properties, if will need occurs.

“If the lockdown proceeds in May, transportation could be an challenge. The Chief Minister has instructed that we system to choose up paddy from considerably-flung villages and gram panchayats. The supplemental value of procurement will be borne by the Condition and we are making ready for that,” Mazumder claimed.

According to Sushil Kumar Choudhury, President, Bengal Rice Mills Affiliation, mills are nevertheless to receive “clear guidelines” from the Condition government on procurement.

Cell app

The government is also mulling the probability of rolling out a mobile application for farmers to position requests for collection of foodgrain from their doorstep.

“Usually the BDO informs farmers in a distinct village about rice mills starting off their procurement. Now this would be facilitated via a mobile app. Even so, we will need to see how adept the individuals in villages are when it comes to technology adoption,” Choudhury claimed.