ERODE: Following the lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, farmers are facing the heat at present due to unavailability of labourers to harvest crops. Among thousands of affected farmers is one Kathirvel, who owns a 60-acre farm near Thalamalai in Thalavady.
At present he said he has cultivated bitter gourd, snake gourd and ridge gourd over 25 acres of his land and every day, he sells three to four tonnes of the said vegetables to merchants at Erode main market and to a couple of colleges situated at Gobichettipalayam and Thindal. Further, wholesale merchants from Kerala buy a bulk of his produce, said Kathirvel, who employs 25 to 30 labourers at his farm.
But that was prior to the lockdown announcement. Now, the farmer said he is finding it very difficult to find labourers as people are prevented from stepping out for work.He said, “For a couple of days, I have not been able to harvest the vegetables. If I do not harvest them, I will incur loss. We can only start cultivation after six months.” Likewise, farmers are struggling to harvest tapioca that is being cultivated in over 18,000 hectares in Erode due to the shortage of labourers. This has led to a loss of 3000 hectares of produce so far, said farmers. They have requested the government to make necessary arrangements to allow farm labourers to work in the fields.