Monday, March 21, 2011

the harvesting season a new set of challenges

After a tumultuous period where we had unprecedented rains, and many paddy fields were rendered useless, and further the rain that came once again, put paid to a good harvest. The latter was as a result of the flowering period being disrupted by rain that prevented the paddy seed from forming. Farmers therefore were left in the lurch.

I am hoping the combine harvester will come in a few minutes to harvest my paddy before the threatening thunder clouds turn this little exercise also into a nightmare. In any case I have to dry the paddy, because paddy that is harvested by the combine requires drying in hot sun on a cement floor for at least 4 hours to get to a level of moisture reduction, that permits storage without becoming mildewed and worthless.

The problem in my area has been that I have waited over 7 days for the combine to come, as all the combines in use in the area that technically could easily handle the volume of work have had a virus of breakdowns, all of them at the same time delaying the work across the village.

The story is that these Indian made combines only last two seasons before they start the breakdown season!!, and the combines came into the being in this format about two seasons ago and the story seems to fit! I mention these issues as it is very important that the reader who wishes to engage in this activity is fully aware of the pitfalls, based on practical experience of others, so that they can take the necessary steps to reduce the risks involved in the type of farming they wish to engage in.

In many previous blogs I have extolled the virtues of these combines which cut the costs substantially of the harvesting exercise, but this is the first time the delay of the combines due to the breakdowns is threatening my harvest. One must also remember that the paddy has to be harvested within a certain time as otherwise if it is too mature, then the milling process will break the paddy seed in such a way that the resulting rice will not be sell able as it will be broken. This happened to me last year and I do not want a repeat of that.

This is a further reason to go for larger farming units where such issues can tackled differently as either one is of a sufficiently large size as to own one's own machine, or has the clout to demand a better level of service due to the large size from the supplier of the machine.

I personally spoke to the owner when I met him on Thursday asking him to provide his harvester, but it has yet to come. I am told the real problem was that his schedule was disrupted due to the breakdowns. How do we minimize the breakdowns in the future. Do we have a specialized repairer of this type of machine in our area, who can come to the sight on a motor bike at short notice to fix a problem!! Obviously there is a business opportunity in it for someone here!


Anonymous said...

surprise surprise another 24hrs have passed and I am waiting for them to arrive! Now for good measure they are saying the extent in their opinion is not 4 bushels but more, (2 bushels is an acre)This means I will have to pay even more for an even poorer service.

Give me a break. There is no earthly way a peasant farmer with less than 5 acres can earn a living wage, if he has to put up with this sort of uncertainty

Anonymous said...

a week later than scheduled, the "the boothaya" turned up on March 24th 2011.

What a waste of time and energy, all for 40 sacks of paddy!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how the unsung heros struggle to survive.

I was in Colombo for a short visit last week and had planned to meet you but that wasn't to be! I ran out of time, I met your cousin at the Hansa Coffee shop and did pass on my regards to you, I will make every effort to meet you next time round, GODS SPEED to you and GOOD LUCK !

PHG from Dubai