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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First Published on: November 24, 2016 2:15 am
  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
                  1. C
                    chandrakanth
                    Nov 24, 2016 at 6:56 am
                    Now farmers have bank accounts, insurance, subsidies for gas / electricity, aadhar- why not use cheques, transfers, instead of the age old cash dealings
                    Reply
                    1. V
                      Vihari Naidu
                      Nov 24, 2016 at 5:14 am
                      No wonder Mamata ji is protesting this anti-farmer and anti-poor move. It will onpy push poor farmers further into poverty and debt as they can't withdraw their own money and have to depend on money lenders who charge high interest rate.
                      Reply
                      1. A
                        Anand Ch
                        Nov 24, 2016 at 6:44 am
                        Going forward it looks very testing times are ahead.
                        Reply
                        1. R
                          raghav
                          Nov 24, 2016 at 12:45 am
                          On one hand media reports that the highest jan dhan accounts with cash poured is from Bengal.., we also see cash crunch with the farmers. Then who has availed the jan dhan account scheme in this state..?
                          Reply
                          1. A
                            Andy Kadir-Buxton
                            Nov 26, 2016 at 5:27 am
                            For those keen on agriculture I would like to draw your attention to 'Crow's Footing,' which is a way of planting seeds that was told to me by my gfather, Stanley Buxton. Instead of planting seeds in a set distance between rows we can use equilateral triangles to plant the seeds. The rows are closer together but the seed rows are planted out of sync with the rows on either side. In this way he found it possible to increase food production by 15% on his market garden. This is an interesting statistic for those with 'green fingers' and I have been campaigning to have it used in the Third World for many years. Not only can the amount of 'cash crops' be increased, but more importantly, so can subsistence crops, which are much more important. The mathematical proof can be seen on my website:
                            Reply
                            1. T
                              Tony
                              Nov 24, 2016 at 7:55 am
                              Bigoted Bhakts cant face facts. So they blame IE for reporting inconvenient truths
                              Reply
                              1. C
                                City Of
                                Nov 24, 2016 at 3:07 am
                                Let me understand this: The farmers in India are rich enough to have money in loads of INR500 and INR1,000 notes!! What about smaller denomination notes, including INR100? Am I missing something???!!!!
                                Reply
                                1. V
                                  vish
                                  Nov 24, 2016 at 2:45 am
                                  What Mamta and her Govt.doing ? Instead of cooperating in speedy and smooth Implementation they are busy in protest and all nonsense act .People of WB should punish these politicians who are playing with their life .
                                  Reply
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