Absence of migrant labourers hits farming in Khammam

Labourers did not come this year fearing a Covid third wave

KHAMMAM: Khammam district has been badly hit by scarcity of farm labourers this season because of Covid fears.

In normal circumstances, thousands of migrant labourers would come from several states during paddy cultivation every year. At a rough estimate, nearly 25,000 labourers would come from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha and work in the paddy fields during monsoon.

K Nagaraju, a farmer from Buddharam village in Nelakondapalli, said “Labourers did not come this year fearing a Covid third wave. It is very difficult to get farm labourers in our village. Sowing operations in my field were delayed due to this handicap”.

He said that there is a need for breeder machines in order to compensate for the dearth of labourers. He said that the labour component will be a major problem for farming in the coming years.

Interestingly, many farm labourers are opting to work only in their respective villages rather than go in search of greener pastures. Labourers are needed for planting and weeding operations. Meanwhile, plantation labourers have put a rider before farmers with more than three acres. The farmer has to give 15 kgs of edible oil to the workforce. The cost of the edible oil is around Rs 2000.

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