Protest from field to field
Published: 11:30 15 May 2019
Photo: Daily Bangladesh
The unusual protest of Kalahati farmer Abdul Malek of Tangail is spreading from field to field. Now, the farmers follow his idea and protest for not getting the fair prices of rice.
Farmer Mizanur Rahman Maznu of Aultia village gave free ripe paddy from his field to locals. On the other hand, another farmer named Nazrul Islam Khan of Bathulishadi village of Bashail’s Kashil UP burnt paddy of his field by showing protest like Abdul Malek.
Meanwhile, Nazrul Islam Khan said, “The price of rice is Tk 500-550 per maund. But the cost of one mound rice production is above Tk 1000. One worker can cut 1-1.5 mound paddy per day. And their wage is Tk 800-900 in the present market. Labor crisis is going on. There is ripe paddy in the field, but no rice.”
“So, in angered view of the way, as a protesting farmer, I set fire to my own paddy field. If it comes to the government considering the advantages of the farmers including the price increase of rice,” he added.
On May 12, farmer Abdul Malek Sikder of Bankina area of Paikra UP of Kalihati Upazila burnt his paddy field by showing protest for not getting the fair price of rice. His protest created a widespread stir in the country by becoming viral on Facebook.
In response, Malek Sikder said, “The price of each worker’s wage is double. Now, we fell in the face of loss by cultivating paddy. So, I set fire in the paddy field sadly.”
Confirming the matter, Kalihati Upazila’s Paikra UP chairman Azad Hossain said, “This is a very painful incident. Farmers should get a fair price of rice. If the farmers suffer, the country will be damaged.”
Regretting the matter as painful, Kashil UP chairman Mirza Razik said, “If fair prices cannot ensure to farmers, then the country’s agricultural industry will be in danger.”
“This year the farmers have yielded bumper yield on the advice of the Department of Agriculture. Due to the simultaneous harvesting of rice, the workers’ wage hike and labor crisis are seen,” said Basail Upazila Agriculture Officer Naznin Akhter adding, “The farmers marketed all the paddy together. As a result, the rice prices are down”
“We are now interested in purchasing agricultural equipment for the farmers through subsidy of 50 percent of the government.”
While visiting Jogni Haat of Tangail Sadar Upazila on Monday, it is seen that the market is fill of boro paddy. But every farmer is frustrated. There is no smile on farmers face for not getting the fair price, though the bumper yield happened.
Jahurul Islam of Pichuria area said, “I am a peasant man. I came to the market to pay wages of rice-cut laborers. I planted boro on 5 bighas this year. The yield is also good. But the price is not the same. I have sold one mound paddy at Tk 570. It does not meet the cost of rice. I do not know how to pay wages and how to run the family.”
“This year the bumper yield has been seen in different areas. But rice prices are very low in our country due to rice coming from neighboring countries like India. As a result, farmers are being affected. I demand to stop import rice from neighboring countries including India to Bangladesh,” said Abul Kalam Mostafa Lavu, president of Tangail Business Coordinator.
Director of Tangail Department of Agricultural Extension Abdur Razzaq said that targets of Boro cultivation were set in 1,65,692 hectares in 12 upazilas in 2018-2019 fiscal year. “As the weather is not favorable, the 1,71,702 hectares of paddy is planted. Which market price is Tk 500-550/ And the day laborer wage is Tk 700-800. Boro peasants have to count the losses due to this cost,” he added.
“The government will give the incentive to rice every season. During this time, due to rice harvesting in most parts of the country, the labor crisis was created. And If farmers will sell paddy a few days later, they will get a good price. The government will also purchase rice at Tk 26 per kg. Then the farmers will get a good price of rice,” the Deputy Director added.
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