Farmers sell off paddy at farmland; Middlemen make hay

Basudevpur: Even as farmers in some areas under Basudevpur block in Bhadrak district are stepping up paddy harvesting so as to save it from the approaching rain, traders and middlemen have become active to buy paddy at Rs 200 or 300 less than the government fixed price, a report said.

Some traders have also started purchasing paddy and supplying it outside the state.

Basudevpur is a major paddy-producing area in Bhadrak. In the current year, farmers have been facing a series of problems due to unseasonal rain, then pest onslaught and now the approaching low-pressure induced rains. The previous unseasonal rains delayed the harvesting.

They are in a hurry to save the remaining crop from being wet and damaged. In low-laying areas, the farmlands are soggy with rain water. They find it difficult to reap paddy. In dry farmlands, they have engaged machines to finish the harvest as early as possible before rain hits the area. Mechanised harvesting has become costly.

They have little time to transport the harvested paddy home. Traders are seen coming to the farmland, persuading them to sell it there.

As rain approaches, farmers want to dispose of their produce to traders at low prices while the government has not yet opened procurement centres as yet, it was alleged. 

The government is planning to open procurement centres by December 19. Farmers are worried over the approaching rain and can’t risk paddy getting exposed to rains. They hurriedly sell off paddy to middlemen at the farmland, as it will take time to transport and store the crop at home.

The situation has provided traders an opportunity to buy paddy from farmers at the price fixed by them.

On the other hand, the administration and civil supplies department are not taking action against the traders.

Now, paddy is to be harvested from hundreds of acres of land, use of machines has been preferred as the only option to quickly harvest paddy. Farmers however said they incur huge losses from mechanised harvesting. Besides, straws get damaged in such kind of harvesting.

Radhakishore Ds, a farmer from Sudarshanpur panchayat said, “Paddy has germinated in some areas after soaking for days together during the previous spell of rain. Further rain will completely wash out the crop. The government should take steps to pay compensation for the loss.”

Assistant agriculture officer Laxmidhar Sahu said farmers will possibly suffer crop damage in case of low-pressure-induced rains. Farmers are advised to quickly harvest and store it at safe places as soon as possible, Sahu added.      PNN

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