The State government has come forward to extend hand-held paddy harvesters at subsidised rates to farmers, fulfilling a long felt demand put forward by a section of farmers in Tiruchi district.
On Monday, a demonstration on the hand-held brush cutter, which can be used for paddy harvest, was conducted by a private company.
The demonstration was held following demands put forward by a section of farmers led by Puliyur A.Nagarajan, president, Farmers Wing of the Tamil Maanila Congress, to the Agriculture Secretary and the Agricultural Engineering Department.
The brush cutters, costing about 30,000 would be extended to farmers with up to 50% subsidy. The brush cutters are used for clearing bushes or vegetation. But now they have found a new application in harvesting paddy, said Mr. Nagarajan.
The hand-held machines would be of much help to farmers whose fields cannot be accessed by the chain-type harvesters or those mounted on tyres. In places such as Vayalur, there are many fields where the harvesters cannot enter. Given the shortage of farm labourers and rising costs, the hand held devices will by very useful for farmers during the harvest season, Mr.Nagarajan said. He claimed that using the machines, a well trained labourer, can harvest paddy crop on an acre in a couple of hours.
When contacted, a senior Agricultural Engineering Department officer in the district said that the department was willing to extend subsidy to any number of machines. The machines are available with two companies and farmers can purchase them availing the subsidy, he said.
Thanking the Agriculture Secretary and the Chief Engineer of the Agricultural Engineering Department, Mr.Nagarajan appealed to them to extend the machines to team leaders of agricultural labourers, who are engaged in paddy harvest, at 100% subsidy so that more farmers can benefit.