Rent for paddy harvesters has gone up sharply in Tiruchi district due to heavy demand as samba harvest is at its peak.
Over the past few years, farmers have switched over to mechanisation of harvesting. Paddy has been raised on about 42,000 hectares in Tiruchi district. The harvest of paddy that began in the second week of January has reached its peak in Lalgudi, Pullampadi, Musiri, Thottiyam and other areas.
Ever since the harvest season began, a large number of paddy harvesting machines have come to various parts of the district to cash in on the demand. Machines from Athoor, Chinna Salem, Salem, Madurai and Namakkal have been brought to various villages by their operators.
Since there is a great demand for machine harvesting, the operators have increased the rent than last year. They normally charge Rs. 1,600 per hour for harvesting paddy on dry fields, up from Rs. 1200 to Rs. 1300 last year.
A paddy harvester operator of Salem, who is camping in Lalgudi taluk, said that overhead cost, including wages for drivers and assistants and fuel, had gone up than last year. The operators had no other options but to increase the rent correspondingly.