It is harvesting time presently for paddy farmers in the state. This year the rains have caused havoc and due to the unseasonal rains in harvesting time paddy farmers are not happy as their crops are destroyed. However, farmers have begun harvesting whatever crop is not destroyed. Several farmers are turning towards modern technology for harvesting rather than using labourers.
Getting labourers for harvesting and threshing of paddy is difficult and costly and so the farmers are turning towards mechanized farming. This can be seen through the sheer increase in the number of harvesting-threshing-cum-winnowing machines used in various paddy growing talukas of the state.
The chairman of the Pernem Taluka Shetkari Society, Milind Kerkar said, “There is increase in the number of harvesting-threshing-cum-winnowing machines and the cost of harvesting by the machines is less compared to the cost incurred when labourers are used. On an average at least 50 percent is saved on every acre of paddy field when machines are used instead of labourers. The farmers are charged 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.”
He added that, due to machines farmers do not have to depend on the labourers for carrying out harvesting and threshing of the paddy. Further the work of harvesting, threshing and winnowing of paddy requires hardly any time if machines are used.
“The machine takes around only one hour for harvesting-threshing-cum-winnowing of 4000 sq.mts of paddy field, whereas for the same work labourers take several days,” said the chairman of the Pernem Taluka Shetkari Society.
He also revealed that, on an average the labourers charge between Rs 500 to Rs 600 per day and apart from this local labourers are not available. “We have to depend on the labourers who come from outside the state. It adds to the difficulties and cost also and so harvesting-threshing-cum-winnowing machine is beneficial. Farmers with large agricultural land can take benefit of the new technology, which is cheaper,” he said.
Kerkar also went on to say that the farmers are turning towards mechanized farming and so the demand of the harvesting-threshing-cum- winnowing machines has increased over the years in Goa. Where a decade back only around six machines were used in the paddy fields of the state the demand for these machines now is such that more than 60 machines operate in the state. Some of the machines 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.
The harvesting of paddy has begun and the some farmers who have large paddy fields use harvesting machine for the paddy harvesting while others who have small paddy fields family members do the harvesting or use labourers for harvesting.
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. However, a drawback of the machine is that there is no grass generated in the process and so the farmers who have cattle and require fodder do not get grass. Further the machine is not useful for very small fields especially in the hilly regions, according to the information available from the sources.
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 is farmers support price. Even small farmers benefit from various scheme of the government. The government provides minimum support price of Rs 20 to the farmers, and if market rate of paddy is Rs 14 per kg than the government gives remaining Rs 6 to the farmers.
The famers are worried about the rains and seeing the climate they hope and pray that there will be no more rains during the harvesting of the paddy. “If the rains don’t come than there will be no further damage to the paddy and so there could be average production of paddy. If we go to see over the years the production in the state has remained good. However this year the rains have spoiled the crop”, said a farmer.