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Summer crop may turn costly affair as farmhands get ‘locked down’ in Delta
Farmers forced to pay higher wages, demand higher MSP for produce next season
While the delta farmers were almost successful in Samba cultivation this time, the summer crop cultivation, which is under way, has enormously been affected due to lack of manpower following the lockdown.
The farmers also claimed that they have now to spend 30 per cent more to retain the workers which would have a serious impact on their returns and so they demand an enhanced MSP of Rs 2,795 on par with the neighbouring Kerala.
The farmers said that the summer crops cultivation usually commences from the end of February which would extend up to April 30. The short-term variety paddy has been cultivated in an area of 2.75 lakh acre in the delta region. Since the cultivation would give good yield for it low pest attack and fast growth, the farmers used to be optimistic to undertake the cultivation.
“We get at least 21 quintal per acre through summer crop cultivation through which a maximum of 2.2 MT paddy would be produced which is beyond the government expectation,” Swamimalai Sundara Vimlanathan from Cauvery Farmers Protection Association, told DT Next.
Vimalnathan said though various processes are being done by machines, several works are undertaken by the farm workers who mostly come from the neigbhouring villages. However, with the implementation of Section 144, the number of farm workers coming for the cultivation has shrunk and so the farmers can now depend only on the local farmers.
“Now, the local farmers, citing the manpower shortage, demand at least 30 per cent more wages. The wage is excluded with their daily additional cash offer of Rs 100 with breakfast and lunch,” Vimalnathan said.
According to the farmers, they spend at least Rs 600 per day for each worker. “Since, we are in an unavoidable state, we do not bother to spend more money on the farm workers and this would definitely impact on the total production cost and the gain would certainly be affected,” he said.
While the farmers have been in the verge of facing loss owing to the high production cost, they appeal the government to enhance the MSP from Rs 1,905 to Rs 2,795 per quintal, which is given to the farmers in Kerala. Only when the MSP is enhanced, the farmers could at least meet their loss, they said.
High fertilizer price
Despite the government allowing to run the fertilizer shops to sell from 9 am to 1 pm, the outlet owners are said to be selling them on a higher price. “They are selling with at least 20 per cent more than the MRP citing that there is a huge shortage. They even do not display the price list and the stocks and thus the farmer who is left with no option but to buy at any cost, purchase them what ever the price, the shops demand,” said a farmer Erangaram Saminathan. He appealed the officials to conduct a surprise check in all such shops to ensure fair sales.
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