Jute production in the country is expected to decline by 12% to 90 lakh bales in the 2012-13 crop year due to poor rains in the growing states, the National Jute Board said today.
The country had produced 102 lakh bales of jute last year. One bale of jute is equal to 332.5 kg.
"Jute output is likely to be lower at around 90 lakh bales this year," the Board's Secretary Atri Bhattacharya told reporters on the
sidelines of a Ficci function here.
He said drought-like situation in some states and floods in Assam could impact crop condition.
As per the Agriculture Ministry data, area sown under jute is lower at 8.40 lakh hectare so far in the ongoing Kharif season, against 8.92
lakh hectare in the year-ago period.
Jute is cultivated in seven states — West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Andhra Pradesh.
In fact sowing of most kharif crops, both food and cash crops, are lagging behind due to poor rains. Monsoon rains were deficient by 20 per
cent till July.
Jute is normally cultivated as an inter-crop between the two main agricultural seasons, kharif and rabi. About 5-6% of the total
production is used for making 1.6 million tonnes of jute goods every year. Farmers use the remaining fibre for manure and fuel.
The jute industry, which employs about 4 million people directly and indirectly, has been mainly focusing on making gunny bags. The Textiles
Ministry wants the jute industry to produce more value-added items.
Stressing the need for diversification of jute products, Textiles Ministry Secretary Kiran Dhingra said: "We need to work for greater
value-addition to jute products before you can get the jute industry to be in a frame of mind to shift to low-value added products".
The natural fibres, especially jute, kenaf and allied fibres, are being diversely used in the manufacture of automobiles and infrastructure
in the world.