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Golden fibre glitters again

Bumper production, better prices bring smiles to farmers

By Special Correspondent
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Jute growers are getting better prices for this harvesting season amid widespread use of the natural fibre both locally and internationally.The price of raw jute at growers level rose to 1800-Tk2000 a maund (37kg) from Tk 1600-1700 last year.Market sources said the present prices of raw jute touched to highest level since the independence of Bangladesh, bringing smile to nearly five million farmers who are involved in jute cultivation in Bangladesh. Jute cultivation plays a key supportive role to the rural economy."We are getting better prices this season compared to that of last year. The current price is bringing profits to us," Md Rabiul Islam, a farmer at Doulatpur in Kushtia, one of the main jute growing districts, told The New Nation. He said earlier farmers of this region shifted from jute production to more profitable crop cultivation in the wake of lower prices of raw jutes in local markets due to falling demands. "As demand increasing now, more farmers are returning to this traditional crop production," he added.According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), about 7.25 lakh hectares of land have been brought under the jute cultivation across the country this year with production target of 76 lakh bales."The total jute production might go up to 80 lakh bales (1 bale=182kg) this season taking advantage of bumper production of jute coupled with increased farming by the farmers," Kifayat Ullah, Director General of Department of Jute, told The New Nation yesterday.He added: It is good sign that jute cultivation again turned into profitable for the farmers and they are happy with the production and prices."The jute growers are getting good prices for their produces this year due to growing demands for the natural fibre at home and abroad. The government's policy support has contributed to the widespread use of jute locally," State Minister for Textiles and Jute Mirza Azam told The New Nation yesterday.For example, he said, the government has made it compulsory to use jute bags for packaging of food grains leading to rise in jute demands in local market. "As the demands for raw jute is increasing, the farmers are getting higher prices for their produce this year. Such a rise in market prices has created the golden opportunity for regaining the lost glory of the golden fibre," Khandoker Golam Moyazzem, a research fellow of the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) told The New Nation yesterday.He said the government has taken various initiatives to increase use of jute goods (sacks, bags and yarn) locally which helped the sector to make a strong comeback.

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