Friday, March 28, 2008

Paddy farmers asserting their rights

I am pleased to report that the paddy farmers in my area are now getting a little more assertive.The paddy price has now reached all time highs, and my neighboring farmers will not even sell a few bags to me at the going market price.

The reason is that they expect the price to rise at least 50% in the next two months and they are hoping to hold on to their stock for as long as they economically can. Earlier the mill owner benefited by buying low and stocking till the prices rose. The farmer wants to do that.

If farmers across the country take this route, then they will create a shortage of paddy in the market artificially inflating the price, however if this is sustained the farmer will benefit.

It will be interesting to note what will happen. As of yesterday a 64kg bag (three bushels) of White Nadu was 1,800 and White Samba was 2,300 before milling. This is a 25% increase from a week ago, when it was at its lowest. I will keep this article updated with dates of the price increase.

On a related note I read that in Thailand owing to the rise in paddy price, people are stealing paddy from the fields, interestingly, I heard the same had happened in a field close to mine last week. In an hour one can steel the equivalent of one bag of paddy by cutting the ripe stalks at night. So it is equivalent to a weeks wages for a farm laborer.

It makes you wonder doesn't it, after my earlier stories of coconut stealing.

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