Bhubaneswar: A workshop by All India network project on “Jute and Allied Fibres” was organised at Odisha University of Agriculture and technology here recently.
In the workshop officials from jute producing states of the country gathered to discuss the future plan of action for higher production in jute and allied fibres.
During the era of Independence, the total production of jute was 33 lakh bales of jute in 5.7lakh ha with average productivity of 10q/ha. Within a span of 70 years the production is 110 lakh bales in 7.6 lakh ha owing to remarkable productivity of 150 percent. The experts suggest more research in this sector for more production. Also, the government can increase the rate of sale for welfare of farmers.
The continuous effort of scientists of various AINPJAF centres of jute-growing states engaged in research on jute and allied fibres, have immensely contributed in improving the productivity of jute despite gradual reduction in jute farming in the last two decades.
Odisha also witnessed a sharp fall in jute cultivation in recent years. Lack of government incentives has discouraged farmers in state from cultivating jute, opined agricultural experts.
According to data from the Agriculture department, a total of 86.31 thousand jute fibre bales (one bale equals 170 kg) were produced in state in 2014-15 fiscal. The figure was 62.89 thousand bales in 2015-16, 44.84 thousand bales in 2016-17, 60.57 thousand bales in 2017-18 and 48.94 thousand bales in 2018-19 fiscal, said the data.
Odisha used to be a leading state in jute cultivation in the country. Many farmers in the coastal districts like Kendrapara, Puri, Balasore, Bhadrak and Jagatsinghpur used to cultivate jute as a cash crop. Jute was used for the making of sacks, carpets, bags, ropes and other household goods.
Besides, many people in rural areas used dried stems of jute plants as fuel. However, jute cultivation has been decreasing in the state since the year 2000, sources said.
Some agricultural experts and intellectuals are of the opinion that lack of government incentives and assured marketing facilities have discouraged farmers of Odisha from cultivating jute.
The demand for jute products has gone up in Odisha after the imposition of ban on polythene and plastic bags. Now, jute fibre is also being used for weaving of saris. The state government should give special attention to jute farming in state. The government can provide financial incentives to jute farmers and arrange marketing facilities for them, experts said.