A farmer set his Boro paddy field on fire protesting the fall of coarse paddy price and unavailability of day labourers in Tangail on Sunday.
This unique protest took place at Bankina village under Paikpara union in Kalahati of Tangail.The protesting farmer was identified as Abdul Malek Shikder.
According to the District Agriculture Extension Department, farmers of 12 upazilas of Tangail, including Sadar Upazila, planted Boro paddy in some 1,71,702 hectares. This year has yielded a bumper crops in the district. Around 30 per cent of the crop has been harvested already.
But, farmers of the district can’t harvest rest 70 per cent due to the shortage of day labourers this year.
On information, it costs TK 900 to 1,000 to hire a day labourer. But at present, just-harvested coarse paddy is selling for about Tk 500 per maund, which is less than last year. So, a farmer has to hire a day labourer with the cost of two maund coarse paddy.
In some cases, farmers can’t manage day labourers in spite of offering high wage. So ripen Boro paddy are rotting in the fields.
Abdul Malek said, “The government has fixed coarse paddy price TK 500 per maund. We have to pay a day labourer TK 1000 to harvest one maund paddy. There are others costs too to process the paddy for reserve at home. We don’t find day labourers despite we pay high. So we can’t harvest properly. So, I have set paddy of half of acre field on fire.”Md Abdur Razzaq, deputy director of District Agriculture Extension Department, said, “The coarse paddy price has fallen this year to some extent. But if farmers can preserve it for few days, they will get better prices.”
He also admitted that there is shortage of day labourers in the district.