Harvesting of boro paddy in West Bengal, set to get started in about a 7 days, is very likely to be hampered by labour lack as most of the workers have absent to their villages adhering to the pandemic scare.

The Condition govt is trying to offer with the manpower lack by deploying supplemental incorporate harvesters.

Govt arrangements

According to Pradip Kumar Mazumder, Main Advisor (Agriculture) to the Main Minister, the Condition has near to 2,500 incorporate harvesters and it experimented with to induct some far more just in advance of the Covid-19 lockdown was imposed. Regional labourers are offered for harvesting and some migrant labourers, who bought trapped at potato harvesting, will also be utilized for harvesting of boro paddy.

“We are preserving our ears to the ground. Based on the situation, we have to just take decisions but as of now, we feel the situation is a manageable, if not comfortable,” Mazumder informed BusinessLine.

West Bengal creates 15-16 million tonnes of paddy annually in 3 seasons that involve aus, aman and boro. The kharif paddy (aus and aman) output accounts for about 70 per cent of the full creation in the Condition. 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 yr on account of unusual climate conditions.

However harvesting will get started by future 7 days, it will peak by April-conclude or early May.

Value escalation

Whilst the use of incorporate harvesters will guarantee that harvesting is not hampered a lot, it will drive up the charge of creation.

“Many paddy cutting machines have been introduced from north Indian States these kinds of as Punjab and Haryana. In a standard yr, if fifty per cent of harvesting is finished by machines, this yr it would be ninety per cent. It will increase the charge of paddy bought to millers, which will in the end result in better charges for rice,” reported Suraj Agarwal, CEO, Tirupati Agri Trade.

The in general charge of harvesting is very likely to increase by all-around twenty per cent. The rental charge of machines are large due to the lockdown. Labour charge is also very likely to double due to the lack. This aside, the transportation charge of paddy from farms to warehouses and then to rice mills will also be better.

Procurement

Paddy procurement will get started in the first 7 days of May. The Bengal govt usually provides incentivised MSP to persons coming to procurement centres to protect the charge of transportation. In see of the Covid-19 situation, the Condition govt is also considering the likelihood of finding up paddy from farmers’ residences, if want occurs.

“If the lockdown continues in May, transportation could be an problem. The Main Minister has instructed that we system to select up paddy from significantly-flung villages and gram panchayats. The supplemental charge of procurement will be borne by the Condition and we are preparing for that,” Mazumder reported.

According to Sushil Kumar Choudhury, President, Bengal Rice Mills Affiliation, mills are but to obtain “clear guidelines” from the Condition govt on procurement.

Mobile app

The govt is also mulling the likelihood of rolling out a cellular application for farmers to place requests for selection of foodgrain from their doorstep.

“Usually the BDO informs farmers in a particular village about rice mills beginning their procurement. Now this would be facilitated as a result of a cellular app. Nonetheless, we want to see how adept the persons in villages are when it comes to technological innovation adoption,” Choudhury reported.