Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Paddy Farmers facing several hurdles this season

Paddy (rice) harvesting season in the Ampara District has commenced but farmers are facing some difficulties. One concern is the shortage of harvesting labour in the District. This shortage has been attributed to the restricted movements of the Tamil labour force from other districts due to the conflict-related situation in the Eastern and Northern provinces and the tension prevailing on the east coast. In addition to this, the cost of labour for harvesting has also increased - partly due to high wages paid by INGOs working here and partly because farmers are now also using harvesting machines to harvest their paddy crops. In addition to this, the market prices for paddy are quite low. The combination of high production costs, shortages of labour, and the low prices for their paddy in the marketplace have many paddy cultivating farmers quite worried.