Despite the severe fuel shortage, ploughing operations for the Yala season has commenced in the Ampara District. However, when compared to previous years, the cost of preparing the land for cultivation has increased by several fold this year, farmers said.
Meanwhile, a limited distribution of fuel has been authorised on the instructions of the District Secretary for ploughing purposes. Filling stations in various locations throughout the district have also been set up to enable ploughing to commence. As the price of diesel has increased, the cost of ploughing has also increased from Rs 6,000 to Rs 12,000 per acre. Several tractor owners have expressed concern that due to the diesel shortage, they will lose their jobs this year.
Farmers lamented that labour wages to sow paddy had risen from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000, and that other wages had risen from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500. The price of a bushel of seed paddy has also risen by Rs 1,000.
“Chemical fertiliser was in short supply. When compared to market prices, chemical fertiliser was sold at high prices and was available in the black market. According to farmers, the black marketeers are expected to make a killing by selling fertiliser at increased rates,” farmers said.
(Pic by Farook Shihan)
BY Naalir Jamaldeen