The harvesting of paddy has begun in the state, however, the rains have caused havoc in the State and especially due to the unseasonal rains now during the harvesting time of paddy the farmers are not happy as their crops have been destroyed, however, the farmers have begun harvesting the crop, while the rains have lessen.
The farmers are worried about the rains and seeing the climate this year the worries have increased of the farmers and they hope and pray that there will be no more rains. It may be noted that the harvesting of paddy has begun and some farmers who have large paddy fields use labourers or harvesting machine for the paddy harvesting while others who have small paddy fields family members do the harvesting.
According to the information available from the sources, now several farmers are turning towards modern technology for harvesting rather than using labourers for harvesting, as getting labourers for harvesting and threshing of paddy has become difficult and costly, the farmers in the various parts of the State are turning towards mechanized farming and this could be seen through the sheer increase in the number of harvesting-threshing-cum-winnowing machines used in the state over the years. Due to this machine the farmers did not have to depend on the labourers for carrying out harvesting and threshing of the paddy and as compared to the labourers the work of harvesting, threshing and winnowing of paddy requires hardly anytime and the machine takes around only one hour for harvesting-threshing-cum-winnowing of 4000 sqmts of paddy field, whereas the same work labourers will take several days to complete.
It may be noted that vegetables and pulses are mostly cultivated after July heavy rains and it is the paddy which is the main crop for which plenty of rain is required and there are various varieties of paddy seeds which have different growth time and some paddy seeds require 130 to 135 days, while there are varieties of paddy seeds which require 105 to 110 days and incase of little delay in the rains short duration seeds could be used by the farmers. The short duration paddy seeds could be used if there is delay in the monsoon at the beginning, however, if there is dry spell in the middle of the monsoon season then, the short duration variety of paddy seeds also is not useful and rains are needed on time, as the first rains makes the land soft and it becomes ready for tilling, however, if the rains are delayed then it will have effect on various stages of the paddy process like harvesting, threshing or winnowing and if the dry days continue and if there is deficient rains then there may be effect on the paddy yield also.
According to the information available from the sources, while on an average the labourers charge between Rs 500 and 600 per day and apart from this the local labourers are not available and so there is dependence on the labourers which come from outside the state, which adds to the difficulties and cost also and so harvesting-threshing-cum-winnowing machine is beneficial and the farmers having large agricultural land can take benefit of the new technology, which is cheaper and there is increase in the number of harvesting-threshing-cum-winnowing machines used in the state and the cost of carrying out harvesting by these machines is less compared to the cost incurred when labourers are used and on an average at least 50 percent is saved on every acre of paddy field when machine is used instead of labourers. The farmers are charged around Rs 2,400 per hour for the use of machine, however there is 50 per cent subsidy of the agricultural department and so the farmers have to pay only Rs 1,200 per hour.
The pandemic have not deterred the farmers from carrying out the agricultural activities in the state of Goa and it has been noticed that this season more people have gone for farming and process of cultivation of more fields is on. The harvesting-threshing-cum-winnowing machine has brought cheers on the face of the farmers in the state. The farmers say that they are happy with the outcome of the machine as due to this machine they didn’t have to depend on the labourers for carrying out harvesting, threshing and winnowing of the paddy and these work requires hardly anytime if done by the machine and the cost of carrying out these processes is also less compared to the cost incurred when labourers are used and it is difficult to get labourers these days, especially this year due to the pandemic.
It may be noted that there are drawbacks of harvesting-threshing-cum-winnowing machine, a drawback of this machine is that there is no grass generated in the process and so the farmers who have cattle and require grass will not get grass if they use this machine and this machine is not useful for very small fields especially in the hilly regions. However, the demand of the harvesting-threshing-cum-winnowing machines has increased over the years in Goa and where a decade back only few machines were used in the paddy fields of the state the demand of these machines have increased and now several more machines work in Goa of which some have been purchased by the agricultural related societies under the subsidy scheme of the government and some have been brought from other states on rent.
It may be noted that the old local variety of seeds for paddy cultivation like Damgo, Mudgo, Sotti, Navan and Korgunt which were once used by the farmers in large scale, are now less in use and the farmers are now shifting to the new variety of high yielding seeds, however, some farmers are still using the local varieties of seeds as these local varieties of paddy seeds are better adaptable to the Goan soil and climatic conditions and they don’t get easily damaged like the high yielding variety seeds.
According to the information available from the sources, the local variety paddy seeds do have certain benefits for instance, the Damgo local variety does not get spoiled even if the field is submerged during heavy rains whereas Jyoti seeds get destroyed in such conditions. The farmers need to put in a lot of hard work when using the local variety seeds which is not the case with the new varieties. Nowadays, mostly focus is there on high yielding varieties, as the population is increasing there is need for more rice and the high yielding varieties produce two to three times more yield then the local varieties and also, the new variety seeds like Jyoti and Jaya are easily available in the market and farmers can also avail subsidy on these varieties, while local variety seeds need proper storage facilities for future use.
According to the information available from the sources, the less used local varieties need to be conserved and cultivated as they are more tolerant to the climate here than the new varieties, however, they are not as profitable as the new variety seeds. Where one ‘kudav’(approximately 6 kg) of local variety seeds gives a produce of two to three ‘khane’ of paddy (one ‘khane’ is about 120 kg) whereas a ‘kudav’ of the new high yielding variety seeds gives a yield of 5-6 ‘khane,’ which is double the yield and this is one of the main reasons why the local variety seeds are been replaced by the new varieties. It may be noted that to boost the agriculture in the state the government has provided the farmers with various government schemes and one such scheme to give boost to the paddy cultivation the government is providing the farmers support price and the support price of the government have shown results and even small farmers can benefit from the various schemes of the government.