Neither the dark clouds of political turmoil nor those preceding ‘Cyclone Mahasen’ have left them any cause for worry.
As the autumn harvest approaches, farmers of Gumai Beel in Chittagong’s Rangunia are in festive mood.
The fields look golden and as the paddy is cut, the bulk promises a bumper harvest.
For these simple rural folks, that is what that ultimately matters.
They would have enough of a surplus to sell off in profit.
Officials at the department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) are also equally optimistic.
They say yield of Aman paddy per hectare this year has increased compared to last year.
In Gumai Beel, the paddy is usually ready for harvesting much before it is elsewhere in the country.
So farmers are out harvesting a week ahead.
Md Shafi, 55, has finished harvesting in his own farm at Kanta Bottol.
He has produced white Paijam breed paddy in his eight kanis of land.
Shafi said he had spent around Tk 7,000 per kani on farming, planting seedlings, irrigation, pesticides and wages of farm labourers.
Around 12.50 maunds of paddy have been produced in each kani of land. At the rate of Tk 800 per maund he will be able to earn around Tk 10,000 from each kani of paddy land.
That leaves him with Tk 24,000 in profit after the sale.
“Price of paddy is higher this year and might increase further if we wait for some more days,” said Mohammad Rubel of the same area who owns five kanis of land.
The farmers said they had spent Tk 1,500 per kani for tilling land and Tk 1,500 per kani for irrigation and for planting seedlings they had spent Tk 1,200 per kani and Tk 1,500 per katha.
Farm labourers said this year on an average 12 to 17 maunds of paddy had been produced on each kani of land depending on the soil condition.
They have estimated price of 17 maunds at Tk 13,500 and Tk 10,000 for 12.50 maunds.
A farmer will gain profit of Tk 3,000 to Tk 6,000 per kani. A worker’s daily wages depend on the price of paddy.
Ameer Ali of Banshkhali harvests paddy for Tk 300 and two meals per day last week. This week his wage has increased to Tk 350 with the rise of paddy price.
Ameer said paddies would ripen in his village after one month. To earn extra money in the meantime, he along with six more people had come to Rangunia to work in the fields.
Farm labourer Shawkat Alam said the cost of sharecropping depends on yield of paddy — if the yield is low the cost of sharecropping is low and if the yield is high the cost of sharecropping is also high.
Seventy-year-old Azgar Ali had given his10 kanis of land to the sharecropper at Tk 2,000 per kani.
“Since I have grown old I cannot till land on my own. The land cannot be left untilled either.”
He said this year both the yield of paddy and its price were good.
Rangunia Upazila Agricultural Officer Akhtaruzzaman told bdnews24.com Aman was produced in 16,000 hectors of land. In Gumai Field alone, the paddy was cultivated on around 2,500 hectares of land.
He has attributed the good yield to no attack from insects and this year’s regular rainfall.
This official said yield of Paijam variant was 3.25 tonnes while Boro variant was 3.60 tonnes per hectare.
The produce is higher than the past several years, he said.
The DAE has fixed the target of Aman paddy cultivation on 1.74 lakh hectares. But the paddy was cultivated on 7,000 more hectares.
Gumai Beel, the second largest Beel of the country, meets two and half days’ supply of the total demand of rice.
Farm labourers arrive in the area from various parts of the country during harvesting season, for extra income. Most of them are from Banshkhali, Satkania of Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar and Mymensingh.
Abdul Ali came from Durgapur, Netrokona three days ago. He has been coming here for the last seven years.
“I will stay here for one and a half months. I get Tk 300 to 350 per day. The employer provides for my accommodation and meal,” he said.