Kannur, June 30 : Kerala government forms a paddy task force to help farmers in the wake of labour shortage in the region.
The scheme called 'Paddy task force' was envisaged by Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) at Panniyur, 40 kilometres from Kannur district headquarters to combat labour shortage in the region.
The project, which involves a 16-member group, aims at grooming a fully disciplined professional team of paddy field workers with an in-depth knowledge in scientific production of rice, at lower costs, by using modern machinery.
The paddy force will undertake farming activities especially in fields, when contacted by farmers.
"The labourers are equipped with farm machineries so they won't face any problems. Farmers also benefit by getting the farm operation done within a short span of time at a lesser price and they are charging 20 per cent of the normal rate," said Moosa PP, Project Incharge 'Paddy task force'.
The labourers are given on field training on various aspects of rice cultivation including operation of farm machinery and its maintenance.
For the field training, five hectares of paddy land will be leased from farmers of a selected village council. Equipments for the operation will be supplied free of cost with proper MoU (Memorandum of Understanding).
The paddy field workers feel it's a matter of pride, as working in the farmlands has become less hectic for them with all the sophisticated equipments at hand.
On receiving the call from the farmers, they visit their field, inspect the place, work out the area of the land and fix the wages. They get a wage of Rs.200 to 350 per day.
"Earlier the same work was done by us with our own hands and it was too hard. Now the same is done with the help of machineries for which we are getting good wages and apart from this our social status has improved as we were just considered labourers in farm lands, but now people recognize us as skilled professionals," said A. Mini, paddy task force labourer.
The force is trained on different equipments like power tiller, thresher, transplantor, weeder, and reaper. The Task Force works from 9 am to 5pm and is just a phone call away.
The paddy-farming sector of the State is experiencing a myriad of problems and consequently the area under rice cultivation is declining at an alarming rate.
Reportedly, area under paddy cultivation in the State has declined over the last 30 years, from 8.94 lakh hectares in 1974 to 2.89 lakh hectares in 2004-05.