At present, the country and the world are struggling with the corona epidemic. Lockdown has been announced in our country and state as human security is most important. At this time Rabi crops are also ready to be harvested. Therefore, in this important season of harvesting and sowing, it is a big challenge for the farmers to maintain social and personal distance because the farmers have not had experience of working in this situation in the past. Keeping all these things in mind, Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University has given some security tips to farmers for harvesting and sowing.
According to the advertisement number 40-3/2020-DM I(A) issued by the Government of India, all the agencies, mandis involved in the purchase and sale of agricultural products, units notified by the State Governments, farming work by farmers and agricultural workers, Custom hiring centers involved in farm machinery, fertilizers, pesticides and seed shops, construction and packaging units will remain open. Apart from this, cutting and sowing machines used in farming such as combine harvesters and other agricultural and horticultural machines have been allowed to be brought and taken out of the state.
- Farmers to maintain social distance during harvesting on the basis of health advice issued by the Central Government and the Government of Haryana. Farmers to maintain a distance of at least 3 meters from each other during working, eating and drinking. They are to wash hands thoroughly with water and soap before and after eating.
- Farmers to harvest the crop using mechanical tools on priority basis. If hand harvesting is constrained, then before and after harvesting, wash the harvesting equipment (eg scythe etc.) in soap / detergent / sanitizer / alcohol or soap solution for 30 seconds.
- Farmers to wash clothes used in the field and dry them in the sun. They should not wear the same clothes on the second day.
- After harvesting throughout the day, the farmers usually sit on the bike /tractor or other vehicle while going to the field together and returning. It is advised to the farmers to sit in a different direction from each other on a vehicle while going and returning together to the field. It is better to manage cycle-bikes etc. separately.
- Farmers should drink maximum hot water during the day, gargle with hot salted water, use glass and other utensils separately for drinking and take a bath with soap and water after working in the field.
- Farmers should not take rest in the afternoon in a room, hut, shade, and tree or in the fields close to each other.
- If anyone has symptoms of cough, headache, body pain, cold and fever, contact the nearest government hospital immediately. They should not try to massage each other or suppress the head or body for relief from headache, body pain.
- Keep sufficient quantity of soap, detergent and water in the fields. Clean the drinking and eating utensils thoroughly with soap and detergent water.
- Farmers to not drink water from their hands using utensils like pitcher/jug. They should drink water only in glass, separately.
- Always pack perishable things in the right packs such as hermetic bags etc. as per the suggestions given.
- Men and women can cover their mouth with a cloth at the time of harvesting. Keep a certain distance, while tying the sheaf of wheat. Keep the crop harvested by them separately and tie it to the knot itself. They should not help each other. Farmers to not go to crowded places where there is danger of coronavirus.
- Keep the weight down of the jute bag so that a person can lift it himself. Avoid any type of partnership. Do not do the work of harvesting wheat or mustard by sharing each other’s sickle, grub hook etc.
- Keep the social distance and apply masks while using machine tools like thresher, straw-reaper and combine harvester etc. Keep the driver of the tractor/combine or other agricultural machine fixed and if the driver has to change then first sanitize his seat, steering, handle, clutch, gear, brake etc. and wash it with soap-water before giving it to the other driver.
- Farmers should start harvesting from the outer circle of the field so that social distance remains for a longer time.
- Harvesting should be done only by wearing a full sleeved shirt/kurta.Farmers’ fraternity is suggested to beware of wearing loose clothes, watch, kada, braclet etc. while harvesting.
- Farmers to use a handmade mask in which only cotton cloth made of scarf etc are used. After work, dry the clothes used in the field in the sun after washing them with soap / detergent water.
- Farmers to not share food, water or other beverages among themselves.
- To stay healthy and strong, farmers should eat local fruits like lemon, orange etc. regularly.
- Farmers should not exchange bags etc. used during and after harvesting fruits and vegetables and always wash their hands and feet carefully and perfectly before and after lifting the bags.
- There may be a possibility of hindrance in government procurement/purchase in the crisis of pandemic, so farmers should make temporary and proper arrangements for self-storage and for the mandis, use digital systems provided by the government. Electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) is one of the most suitable online digital devices used for trading platform for agricultural commodities in India. Here, market facilitate farmers, traders and buyers.
- Do not change the means of animal control frequently and disinfect the ropes/chains etc. used to control animals with soap solution every time after use.
- Sometimes sparks come out while using agricultural machineries/devices and sometimes farmers use smoke during harvesting which can lead to ash burning of the crop so farmer fraternity should take care of these precautions
Vice Chancellor of Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Prof. K.P. Singh said that the above suggestions have been given keeping in mind the daily agricultural operations and are also available on the university’s website. In this regard, the university always welcomes suggestions given by scientists, officers, progressive farmers and health department experts. Farmers are also requested to follow the guidelines issued by the government.