Farmers short of cash, West Bengal stares at 1/3 paddy wastage

The problem is particularly pronounced in Bardhaman district — known as the rice bowl of Bengal.

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | Kolkata | Updated: November 24, 2016 7:58 am
paddy, west bengal, west bengal paddy, bengal paddy, bengal paddy farmers, paddy farmers, bengal news, india new West Bengal is India’s largest producer of rice at 158 lakh tonnes a year. (Representational photo, Reuters)

West Bengal’s agriculture department has estimated that 35 per cent of the monsoon paddy might go waste if not harvested in time, an exercise that has been badly hit with farmers lacking the cash to pay for labour. The estimate is part of an agriculture department report, commissioned to assess the impact of demonetisation on monsoon paddy.

West Bengal is India’s largest producer of rice at 158 lakh tonnes a year. Of this, nearly 110 lakh tonnes is harvested during the kharif season. Going by the agriculture department’s estimate, an official said, the kharif output would come down by some 38 lakh tonnes, reducing the annual output to 120 lakh tonnes.

The report says not harvesting the rice produced in the kharif season would mean that the crop would rot in the fields in changing weather conditions. “The kharif crop needs to be harvested by end-November. If this isn’t done, a large portion of the grain will fall off with the cold setting in. It will result in massive crop loss.”

The problem is particularly pronounced in Bardhaman district — known as the rice bowl of Bengal. According to Bardhaman district magistrate Soumitra Mohan, “Massive problems are being faced by farmers and labourers, who depend on cash for harvesting the monsoon paddy and then sowing potatoes for the winters. Many farmers aren’t being able to harvest their crops because they don’t have the money to pay labourers.”

Further complicating the issue is the severe liquidity crunch being faced by cooperative banks in rural areas. Farmers in Bengal traditionally sell their boro (winter) crop before Durga Puja in October to meet festival expenses and to ensure the cost of harvesting the kharif crop. This money is now useless, officials said.

“Most farmers in rural Bengal have accounts in small cooperative banks. After the demonetisation announcement, many withdrew whatever little money they had and as a result these cooperative banks have almost no liquid currency,” said a senior official.

“If farmers cannot harvest their paddy, they won’t be able to prepare their fields to sow potatoes. The sowing of potatoes must be completed by mid-December to ensure that there is healthy production,” added an official of Bardhaman district administration.

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  1. H
    Haru Mandal
    Nov 24, 2016 at 2:38 am
    "West Bengal is India’s largest producer of rice at 158 lakh tonnes a year. " lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;- a highly populous state (next to Kerala), WB had a immense pressure on its remaining share of CULTIVABLE lands that gets transformed into Housing (dwelling land) each year. YET - with very land remaining (and fast disappearing) - it is the largest producer of rice (at 158 ) of India. lt;br/gt;And I will not surprised - IF it is also the largest producer of Vegetables and Potato - only cash crops that fetches very little to the farmers, sold at dirt cheap prices to large traders. (and what would be the (largest) YIELD per hectare)? lt;br/gt;This country runs on relentless propaa!
    Reply
    1. A
      Atis Mitra
      Nov 24, 2016 at 3:54 am
      It is natural under mamata's cheating governance and people's rejection of left front
      Reply
      1. A
        A
        Nov 24, 2016 at 12:59 am
        If you have elected s bad leader ,yes you have to suffer for no fault of yours. Alternate means of saving ones hard earned money is the ultimate goal of a king and if he or she fails to do that, then it purely indicate that she or he has least regard for her citizens .
        Reply
        1. D
          dd
          Nov 24, 2016 at 3:50 am
          For IE its fashion to oppose and create panic agaist BJP government....
          Reply
          1. D
            dd
            Nov 24, 2016 at 3:49 am
            Mamta is busy in depositing money in Jan Dhan account and spreading panic insted of helping farmers..
            Reply
            1. J
              jaya
              Nov 24, 2016 at 8:29 pm
              Mamata, Mayavati, Kejri,etc...got caught with their pants down.
              Reply
              1. M
                manikantan
                Nov 24, 2016 at 5:33 am
                Bigots bhakts have become insensitive and Anti human. This exactly is how Hitler folled Germans and brought in Catastrophe to the world
                Reply
                1. M
                  Mahender Goriganti
                  Nov 24, 2016 at 12:51 am
                  I am sure IE finds problems only in terrorist based states and the non BJP states suffering from people dyg from heat attacks like Ghulam Ali azad Bhai, to a father in Kashmir to Bengal
                  Reply
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