Dhaka, Bangladesh
Bumper year for jute on the cards in Faridpur

Bumper year for jute on the cards in Faridpur

FARIDPUR, July 16: Thanks to favourable weather conditions and increased cultivation, jute farmers of Faridpur are set to witness a bumper year for jute production in 2017-18. According to farmers and the district branch of the Jute Research Institute, at least 902,151 bales of jute (1 bale=180kg) will be produced this year - the highest in at least seven years, reports UNB. Faridpur is known as 'the Land of the Golden Fibre', where jute is grown in 8 of the district's 9 upazilas. And it is increasing, with potential to increase even further. The area of farmland on which jute is grown has gone up by over 7000 hectares in the last seven years, leading to increased production. This year jute is being cultivated on some 82,865 hectares - more than any other crop - and farmers are expecting to surpass the 902,145 bales produced in 2016-17, when it was cultivated on 82, 050 hectares. Sources at the Jute Research Institute's Faridpur office said the farmers cultivated two varieties - the Indian Tossa JRO-524, which accounts for 90 percent of the crop, and the domestic Mesta O-9897, that covers the rest. According to the Department of Agriculture Extension, jute was cultivated on 75,968 hectares of land in Faridpur in the 2010-11 fiscal, producing 873,053 bales of the crop that year. Production fell however, in the next financial year (2011-12) to just 617,022 bales, despite cultivation rising to 77,190 hectares. That possibly led to cultivation being pared back again in 2012-13 to just 71, 483 hectares, but production rose impressively to 820,0812 bales. In 2013-14, some 686,439 bales of jute were produced in Faridpur from 74,396 hectares of land in 2013-14, followed by 673,470 bales in 2014-15, from 74,086 hectares of land. The 2015-16 fiscal saw production rise again to 733,490 bales from 72,o03 hectares of land. As can be seen from the figures, production and cultivation have both varied greatly from year to year. Therefore if the farmers' expectations for the crop are met for the current fiscal, it would represent an important steadying of their livelihoods as production and cultivation both will have stayed almost the same, with a slight increase acting as the incentive. Farmers said they start jute cultivation towards the end of Choitro, the last month of the Bengali calendar, and the start of Boishakh, that heralds the Bengali New Year (a period coinciding with April in the Gregorian calendar), and cut and collect jute from the land in the Asha?h-Srabon months (mid-June to mid-August). They explained their preference for cultivating jute during these months typified by heavy rainfall as the monsoon visits Bangladesh.

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