Ready for harvest but no workers in UP

Lucknow, March 26 (IANS) The mustard crop is adding a green and yellow lush to the fields. Alongside is the wheat crop turning a vibrant golden colour. Both the crops are ready for harvest but the lockdown has put farmers – big and small in a quandary.

“Labourers are not being allowed to come for harvest and we do not know how we will manage things because the next one fortnight is very crucial for the crops,” said Prem Singh Chauhan, a medium farmer in Sultanpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

In Gonda district, the local farmers are now helping each other in harvesting.

“Ours is a case of ‘saathi haath badhana’. Since Monday, we collect in groups in our village and have been harvesting mustard in one field collectively. When we finish, we will move to another field. The police are not allowing labourers to come and we cannot let the crop wither away in the fields,” said Rajjan Kumar, a small farmer.

Farmers across Uttar Pradesh claim that the lockdown could adversely impact their agricultural operations.

“We can harvest the crop but other operations like harvesting and threshing need to be done by labourers who are adept at the work. Moreover, if the lockdown is prolonged, we will have problems in storing and selling the produce. As it is, we have suffered enough loses due to recent rains and hailstorm,” said Balwant Singh, a farmer from Gorakhpur.

Sardar Surjit Singh, who is among the affluent farmers in Pilibhit district, said that ‘Baisakhi’, which is a festival of celebration by farmers, may not be very joyful since harvesting and threshing of the crops is stalled due to lockdown.

Singh has large farms and needs labourers in large numbers to harvest the crops.

–IANS

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