Farmers in coastal areas have become busier in recent days as their paddy fields have finally turned golden, marking them as ripe for harvest.

Harvesting has already begun in some areas, such as Kalapara Upazila of Patuakhali district.

There are 35,500 farmer families in two municipalities and 12 unions of Kalapara. The total arable land is 49,210 hectares. 

Farmers have cultivated crops on 31,240 hectares of land this year. Seasonal high-yield variety Ropa Aman has been cultivated on 22,550 hectares and the local Aush variety on 8,150 hectares.

Besides, farmers have cultivated seedlings of paddy and vegetables on 540 hectares of land.

Cyclone Sitrang partially damaged 921 hectares of paddy fields and 54 hectares of vegetable fields, Kalapara Upazila Agriculture Office sources said.

On a recent visit to the area, farmers were seen bringing in paddy for threshing, boiling and drying under the sun. Many of them had made new reapers and scissors for the harvest.

Some were seen repairing and sharpening old tools with the help of blacksmiths to harvest the rice, while a few farmers were preparing to harvest paddy with harvesting machines.

In addition, many family members of farmers were seen cleaning up courtyards to lay out the harvested paddy. 

Farmers expressed concern over getting the fair prices for their crops due to the activities of middlemen. The farmers, at a recent human chain, demanded that the upazila administration purchase paddy directly from the farmers instead of from middlemen.

Local farmers said it used to cost Tk45,000-50,000 for each acre of paddy until threshing. However, the cost this year has been more than Tk60,000 per acre. Farmers are also facing difficulties paying the Tk700-800 daily wages of labourers hired for the harvest season. 

Abdul Alim, a farmer of West Badurtali village of Tiakhali Union of the upazila, said although cyclone Sitrang did not cause much damage to the fields and a significant amount of paddy will be harvested, costs have still risen.

Kalapara Upazila Agriculture Officer Muhammad Saifullah said cyclone Sitrang did not cause much damage to the Aman paddy fields of the farmers in the upazila, and so farmers will be able to overcome  obstacles.

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