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Warangal: Labour shortage hits paddy farmers

Labour shortage hits paddy farmers
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Labour shortage hits paddy farmers

Highlights

One way or the other, the demon of misfortune continues to haunt the farmers. Despite plenty of water around this season, farmers are faced with an acute shortage of labour due to the scare of coronavirus disease

Warangal: One way or the other, the demon of misfortune continues to haunt the farmers. Despite plenty of water around this season, farmers are faced with an acute shortage of labour due to the scare of coronavirus disease. Farmers in general wait for rains to begin sowing of summer crops especially paddy in this part of the State.

Due to lack of mechanical transplanting options, farmers in the region, especially paddy, depend heavily on manual labour. The lockdown led to a mass exodus of migrant labourers to their native places which has resulted in labour scarcity in some areas.

With paddy seedlings ready, farmers were seen in a hurry to round off transplanting for the last fortnight or so. According to agriculture officials, 50 per cent of the transplantation is over across the erstwhile Warangal district. With just around 10 days to go for the cut-off time for completion of transplantation, it has become a herculean task for many farmers to hire labour. The demand for labour has also led to a rise in wages.

Shanigarapu Laxmi of Cherlapelly village Nadikuda mandal in Warangal Rural district told The Hans India that "The farm labourers who work in groups are demanding Rs 5,000 an acre for transplantation. It cost me Rs 3,500 per acre last year. This apart, we have to bear travelling expenses of the workers."

Another farmer of the same village Bollarapu Anandam said, "We have to invest around Rs 16,000 per acre by the transplantation stage. It also includes hiring charges of tractor for ploughing and cost of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP). Invariably, it will impact profit margin."

According to agriculture officials, the cultivable area in six districts – Warangal Urban, Rural, Jangaon, Mahabubabad, Mulugu and Jayashankar-Bhupalpally is 4.97 lakh hectares. The cotton and paddy are the two dominant crops occupying 80 per cent of the cultivable land.

"Government needs to create a sense of confidence among the labourers who are not willing to come out for farm works due to the Covid-19 pandemic scare. The farm workers should be given masks and sanitisers besides teaching them the hygienic practices," Rythu Sangham Warangal Rural district general secretary, Peddarapu Ramesh, who himself is a farmer said. The preparation of fields for cotton and turmeric crops also led to the shortage of labourers, he added.

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