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Jute growers turn towards conventional crops

Nov '05
Jute Corporation of India stated that unprecedented buoyancy prevails among the jute growers in this agricultural hinterland. Prices of raw jute, also known as golden fibre, have roomed sky-high right from the beginning of the trade season.

Currently, the prices of raw jute, the real mainstay of farm economy in this region, are pegged onto Rs 1,570 or so per quintal.

However, the statutory minimum support price was stipulated by the Central government at Rs 941 per quintal, according to Jute Corporation of India (JCI) sources.

For the first time ever, the JCI was given the nod to make commercial purchase of jute. Accordingly, when the jute trade season set in, as usual, in mid-July, the JCI plunged straightaway in making commercial purchases from the jute growers.

JCI's maiden foray in making commercial purchases of jute, aside from saving the small and marginal jute growers from the clutches of manipulative middlemen and jute agents enormously helped in the soaring of raw jute prices.

Earlier, small and middle class jute cultivators, who could scarcely hold on there product, fell into the middlemen's clutches.

But JCI, which still lacks necessary infrastructure, could hardly come to their rescue, jute growers say. Kishanganj JCI Branch Manager P K Sinha informed that JCI could buy barely 2,600 quintals of raw jute.

Also, overall raw jute production has considerably gone down this season. The entire economy of this region hinged into jute in the past. But, due to wide fluctuations and market vagaries, area under raw jute has trunk over the years.

Traditional jute growers are gradually switching over to other farm patterns like tea, banana, tobacco, ginger which fetch them fancy prices.

The Economics Times

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