Raw jute availability set to increase

A crop size of 112 lakh bales is estimated for 2019-20

Raw jute availability is expected to improve in 2019-20 with an almost 10% increase being projected for the crop.

Estimates are about 79 lakh bales in 2019-20 against 72 lakh bales final estimate for 2018-19. Taken together with the opening stock and imports, the total supply is estimated at 101.4 lakh bales against 97.4 lakh bales.

The figures were arrived at after the latest meeting of the Jute Advisory Board (JAB) under the Union Textiles Ministry.

The meeting, chaired by the Union Textiles Secretary was attended by the Jute Commissioner, Director of Jute Development, Chairman and Managing Director of the procurement agency, the Jute Corporation of India, chairman of industry body, the Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA), officials of Jute Balers Association, the raw jute traders body and State government officials.

Although the crop estimates given by the various agencies have differed, indications were that this year would be good for jute farmers, a senior IJMA member told The Hindu. At the meeting, the Director of the Jute Development Directorate said that in 2019-20, the area coverage and production would be normal and a crop size of 112 lakh bales was estimated.

Crop ready

Sources said that sowing started in April. Crop is ready after about four months of cultivation.

The fibre is available after a long process called retting which involves the extraction of the fibre from the plant through washing and drying.

Farmers also got good prices, amid rumours of a crop shortage in 2018-19, it was learnt. Jute mills, too, have consumed more (69 lakh bales against 68 lakh bales estimated earlier for 2018-19 by JAB) with good order for foodgrain sacks, under the mandatory Jute Packaging Order.

Rural and industrial consumption remained at 10 lakh bales. Exports of raw jute have been nil against lower imports of three lakh bales against projected four lakh bales. Raw jute is mostly grown in West Bengal, Assam and Bihar with a small amount also being grown in Andhra Pradesh.

There are some 40 lakh farners involved in this crop.

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