Farming takes a beating for lack of hands

Most of them migrating to Blore

The farmers in the district are counting the number of problems at hand.

The confusion regarding irrigation facilities continues, with no certainty on whether it is the Yettinahole project or the Paramashivaiah Report that will be implemented. The farmers are even wondering if any of them will be implemented at all.

While this has severely affected agricultural work in the district, the immediate worry for the farmers is the lack of farmhands.

There is a duel on between the farmers and the workers.

The farmers complain of having a lot of work but getting no labour. The workers, on the other hand, are complaining of poor pay. In response, the farmers say the labourers refuse although they are promised good pay. The workers retort, saying they have other offers for work too, not just in the fields. In the midst of all this tussle, however, the real sufferer remains agricultural work.

'Self-search'

“Farmhands would come to us begging for work till some time back. We would wonder how to pay all of them,” say the farmer. “Now, we have to go around in search of workers, considering ourselves really fortunate if someone agrees to work in our fields.”

How to undertake de-weeding, sowing seeds and many other kinds of work on several acres of fields and plantations on their own is a matter of great worry for the farmers.

Farmers all over the district have the same problem. They are wondering how just couple of people ca n manage to complete all the work there is on the fields.

Age is also a factor giving rise to worries, as senior farmers feel people of their age cannot obviously work themselves or even go in search of workers.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Krishnappa said, “I have a two-acre field. I have got no workers to even de-weed the land. Whenever we ask them to come for work, they say they are in Bangalore, employed elsewhere.”

He added that the workers charge heavily, as a means to prevent farmers from employing them.

“Farmers are said to feed the world. But how much can we do on our own and without cooperation from outside world?” he asked.

The condition of sericulturists is no better, as they depend heavily on workers at every stage.
Nagaraj, a silk grower, said they go through very tough times when they get no workers. “Also, we are facing the problem of fall in the price of silk.

Then, how can we satisfy the workers of current times, who are demanding such high pay?” he asked.

Speaking on the rates for the workers, Nagaraj said a woman working in the fields is paid Rs 120 a day while a man is paid Rs 220. A silk grower, on the other hand, pays Rs 150 to a woman worker and Rs 250 to a man. “We are also required to give them afternoon meals and beverages in between. In spite of all such provision, the workers refuse to help us.”

Agricultural workers, on the other hand, ask how long they can continue working in fields.
“We need to look beyond. It is difficult to survive depending on daily wages,” said Maruthi, a daily worker.

“Working in Bangalore or Mumbai will obviously give us better pay. After all, who will give us other work if we continue in the same villages?” he asks.

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