The Jute Commissioner’s office has recommended a 14 per cent increase in the minimum support price (MSP) of raw jute for 2013-14 over the existing price, a move that might not go down well with the jute industry that was expecting only a marginal rise.
In 2013-14, price of TD-5 ex-Assam grade raw jute is recommended at a minimum of Rs 2,500 a quintal. Last year, the price was Rs 2,250 a quintal. The MSP of raw jute in 2012-13 was raised by a steep 31 per cent, the highest in two decades.
The industry is in favour of a cut in MSP recommended by the Jute Commissioner’s office and is expected to approach the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
“I am not aware if any recommendation has been made for fixing MSP of raw jute for 2013-14. The industry had only suggested that a marginal hike over the existing price would suffice”, said Manish Poddar, chairman of the Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA), the apex body for the industry.
West Bengal-based Jute Corporation of India (JCI) and the Centre for Research in Jute and Allied Fibres (CRIJAF) have calculated the cost of raw jute cultivation in 2013-14 at Rs 2,250 and Rs 2,588 a quintal respectively.
Every year, almost 10 million bales (one bale is 180 kg) of raw jute is produced on 800,000 hectares in seven states — West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Andhra Pradesh. Almost 75 per cent of raw jute is cultivated in West Bengal. The yield is 27-29 quintals a hectare.
Almost four million farmers are engaged in jute cultivation. The fibre is produced as an inter-crop between two rice producing seasons. A paltry five per cent of the produce is used as green fibre to manufacture jute bags and other products in jute mills. The rest is consumed as manure and fuel sticks as a replacement for mud oil.