Labour shortage likely to hit Bengal rabi paddy harvest

Harvesting of boro paddy in West Bengal, established to commence in about a 7 days,

Harvesting of boro paddy in West Bengal, established to commence in about a 7 days, is likely to be hampered by labour shortage as most of the workers have gone to their villages adhering to the pandemic scare.

The State government is striving to offer with the manpower shortage by deploying further incorporate harvesters.

Govt preparations

In accordance to Pradip Kumar Mazumder, Main Advisor (Agriculture) to the Main Minister, the State has shut to 2,five hundred incorporate harvesters and it tried using to induct some a lot more just in advance of the Covid-19 lockdown was imposed. Area labourers are accessible for harvesting and some migrant labourers, who bought stuck at potato harvesting, will also be applied for harvesting of boro paddy.

“We are keeping our ears to the ground. Based on the predicament, we have to consider conclusions but as of now, we really feel the predicament is a manageable, if not relaxed,” Mazumder advised BusinessLine.

West Bengal creates 15-16 million tonnes of paddy annually in three seasons that involve aus, aman and boro. The kharif paddy (aus and aman) output accounts for about 70 for every cent of the whole output in the State. Boro paddy is typically 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 abnormal weather circumstances.

Nevertheless harvesting will commence by upcoming 7 days, it will peak by April-finish or early May perhaps.

Expense escalation

Even though the use of incorporate harvesters will ensure that harvesting is not hampered a lot, it will drive up the value of output.

“Many paddy cutting devices have been brought from north Indian States these types of as Punjab and Haryana. In a standard year, if fifty for every cent of harvesting is done by devices, this year it would be 90 for every cent. It will raise the value of paddy bought to millers, which will in the long run end result in increased rates for rice,” reported Suraj Agarwal, CEO, Tirupati Agri Trade.

The in general value of harvesting is likely to raise by around 20 for every cent. The rental value of devices are large due to the lockdown. Labour value is also likely to double due to the shortage. This apart, the transportation value of paddy from farms to warehouses and then to rice mills will also be increased.


Paddy procurement will commence in the first 7 days of May perhaps. The Bengal government typically presents incentivised MSP to men and women coming to procurement centres to deal with the value of transportation. In check out of the Covid-19 predicament, the State government is also thinking of the likelihood of finding up paddy from farmers’ residences, if have to have arises.

“If the lockdown continues in May perhaps, transportation could be an situation. The Main Minister has instructed that we program to choose up paddy from far-flung villages and gram panchayats. The further value of procurement will be borne by the State and we are making ready for that,” Mazumder reported.

In accordance to Sushil Kumar Choudhury, President, Bengal Rice Mills Association, mills are still to receive “clear guidelines” from the State government on procurement.

Cell app

The government is also mulling the likelihood of rolling out a cell application for farmers to location requests for selection of foodgrain from their doorstep.

“Usually the BDO informs farmers in a individual village about rice mills starting up their procurement. Now this would be facilitated via a cell app. On the other hand, we have to have to see how adept the men and women in villages are when it will come to engineering adoption,” Choudhury reported.