Farmers in Haor (low-lying wetlands) regions have harvested 40 to 65 percent of their paddy so far because the government has mobilised agro-machinery and farm workers to the north-eastern districts.
Farmers say that they will be able to complete the harvest on time provided there is no heavy rainfall or early floods.
The government has set a target of 2.4 crore tonnes of Boro production this year, while the haor region will supply nearly 20 percent of the goal.
Despite the possibility of a bumper Boro yield due to favorable weather conditions and absence of crop diseases, farmers are worried that a shortage of farm workers will hinder them from harvesting the crop on time.
Besides, a forecast of rain, hailstorms and flash floods in the last week of April is threatening the Boro harvest.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has put global food security in limbo, while the Bangladesh government emphasises uninterrupted food production amid the lockdown. The local administration in haor districts has stepped in and provided agro-machinery including combine harvesters and paddy reapers.
The local authorities have also brought farm workers to haor regions including those in Kishoreganj, Netrokona and Sunamganj. Besides, volunteers are also taking part in paddy harvesting so that the virus crisis does not affect Boro farmers.
Quoting the district administration and the agriculture department, the Sunamganj correspondent of The Business Standard reported that as much as 54 percent of the Boro crop has been harvested in the district.
The Boro crop was cultivated on 2.19 lakh hectares of land this year in Sunamganj. Local representatives said the rest of the paddy will be harvested in the next one week provided the weather holds.
Initially there was a severe shortage of labourers for the Boro harvest in Sunamganj, but the problem was resolved after the district administration brought in nearly 11,000 farm workers from other districts.
On top of that, 114 combine harvesters and 117 paddy reapers are being used. However, a local union parishad chairman said the machines are not suitable for use in the low-lying haor areas.
"We totally depend on human labor for paddy cultivation," he added.
The scenario in Kishoreganj is different because the district is prioritising harvesting machinery. Apart from that, local Awami League volunteers are harvesting the paddy for the farmers.
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), the Boro crop has been cultivated on 1.66 lakh hectares of land in 13 upazilas of the district. Of that, 40 percent of the paddy has already been harvested in the haor areas.
Rezwan Ahammad Toufique, the member of parliament for Kishoreganj-4, said that their volunteers were helping farmers even at the union level.
Mithamain upazila farmer Ataur Rahman said though they were in trouble due to a labourer shortage earlier, they are now in a favorable position because volunteers are harvesting the crop for free.
Deputy Director of Kishoreganj DAE Mohammad Saiful Alam said Boro harvesting will conclude soon.
Until Sunday, Netrokona farmers harvested 65 percent of their paddy because they got the use of modern agro-machinery.
Boro is the main crop in the haor regions of the district. According to the district DAE, the paddy was cultivated on 40,865 hectares of land this year.
Farmers said the initial worker shortage is starting to get resolved because nearly 12,000 farm workers have come to the district so far for Boro harvesting.
Khaliajuri Upazila Agriculture Officer Habibur Rahman expects the Boro harvesting to be completed in 10 days if the weather remains favorable.