May Day is significant for the working class as it celebrates their liberties. However, some workers do not show much enthusiasm for this day as it feels like another typical workday. May 1 is a national holiday, but unfortunately, farmers do not get to enjoy this day off. This day is meant to recognize their contributions, yet they still have to work in the fields despite weather conditions. The production wheel must keep turning, even during cyclones and precipitation.
In 1886, a group fought for fair working conditions at the Chicago, United States, hay market. As tensions rose, the labourers were attacked, and some died, leaving blood on the streets. Nevertheless, their efforts established an eight-hour workday, allowing for eight hours of leisure and rest. This event is now globally celebrated, including in our own nation. However, our producers still struggle to receive compensation for their hard work and resources. We recognize the labour and finances required to cultivate produce, yet our producers cannot strike and lack the support of a fair value and rights movement, leaving them with a weak voice.
How long will the plight of farmers in this country dependent on agriculture continue?
Boro paddy is now being harvested in fields across the country. Now the farmers are busy harvesting paddy harvesting, producing vegetables, summer onions, jute sowing, and especially preparing Aush seedbeds.
But they are not getting the production and income they should get from their efforts. Most vegetables are rotting in the field due to a lack of buyers due to Corona. Besides, there is supposed to be enough watermelon in the market, but the quantity is significantly less.
Besides, there is the violence of the middlemen. Part of the profit from the farmer’s harvest goes to the mediators. On top of this, there are wide fluctuations in market prices, long delays in product transfer with transportation complications, and various risks at the production stage. From price fixing to multiple issues, such realities are often created, disrupting the farmer’s life, which has also appeared in various periodicals.
Even after a bumper yield, the cost of production does not rise, let alone the farmer’s profit. Although the farmers produce by facing various difficulties, including taking loans, it is unfortunate if such a situation arises even after that. In any such disaster, the government should take a long-term approach so that the farmers can recover from the disaster and get back to producing crops.
Agricultural subsidies, fertilizers, and seeds are insufficient to ensure sufficient food production. Fair pricing for agricultural products is also necessary to incentivize farmers to continue cultivating food crops. This is crucial for maintaining a stable food supply in the country. Therefore, measures should be taken to ensure farmers receive fair compensation for their products.
It is important to maintain agriculture for the benefit of the country. To do so, we must increase agricultural subsidies and ensure the funds are distributed to the farmers. The farmers’ skills and hard work are crucial to sustaining the country’s well-being. It would be unfortunate to limit the rights of these producers.
In each of the country’s major political parties, there is a group dedicated to agriculture and farmers. However, despite being established by farmers, this group was overlooked by the political establishment.
Agriculture and farmers’ interest. Rather, these organizations are busy protecting party interests. However, during the Corona period, various organizations, including Krishak League and Chhatra League, helped farmers harvest paddy, which is admirable. In fact, after the agricultural labour movement in the 1980s, there was no movement for the farming community.
Even today, farmers are burning their land without getting a fair price and pouring milk into the water. Vegetables are protesting by throwing them on the street. Thus disenfranchised peasants today are unorganized, helpless and languageless.
In Saratchandra’s ‘Mahesh’ story, we have seen that the poor farmer was forced to leave the village in the dark of the night, holding the hand of Gafur’s daughter Amina, due to the oppression of the village zamindar and priests. Unfortunately, this country has not been freed from this pathetic condition of farmers after being uprooted from the land.
If we look at the current farmers’ market system, we will see that the price of products in each market in the country is different. For example, somewhere, a tomato is 2 taka per kg, which is sold at 30 takas in the capital. Somewhere a kg of pepper is Tk 5, and at the same time, pepper is sold at Tk 30. This proves that no well-organized market management for farmers has been developed. As a result, farmers are not able to market their products independently.
In this, everyone has to find the market separately, transport those products to the market themselves, try to sell themselves, and pay dharna to get money after the sale. It costs everyone time, labour and transportation costs. At the production stage, instead of encouraging the production of individual farmers, it is possible to involve groups in producing agricultural products.
Production of agricultural products and quality will increase, farm mechanization will reduce production costs, including labour and other costs, and market linkage will be facilitated through controlled production.
Apart from this, attention should also be paid to marketing or exporting the agricultural products of Bangladesh through farmers’ groups or organizations in the international market because Bangladesh has already set a successful example in exporting rice, mangoes and vegetables in the international market. The quality and reputation of Bangladeshi products in the international market can be maintained by reliable farmers and farmers’ organizations in Bangladesh. Therefore, it’s time to start a farmer-friendly business.
The farmer plays a crucial role in providing food for the people; without their contribution, the country would suffer greatly. The government must support the agricultural sector by offering economic subsidies and incentives and ensuring the education of farmers’ children. The consequences of a food shortage could lead to chaos throughout the nation. Therefore, Bangladesh needs to recognize the significance of agriculture and its role as the backbone of the economy, especially during and after the Corona period. It’s essential to safeguard farmers’ rights and guarantee fair product prices.