K. Satyamurty

Jute Board to become operational by the end of this year

BANGALORE: The Jute Board will focus on research in high-yielding seeds besides promoting the use of jute for newer applications. The board is expected to become functional towards the end of this year.

Speaking to The Hindu at the ‘Jute buyer seller meet’ here on Tuesday, Atri Bhattacharya, Secretary, Jute Manufactures Development Council (JMDC), Union Textiles Ministry, said, “Jute is being successfully used now in farms to prevent soil erosion and topsoil management. Trials have also been carried out to jute as a layer in road building.”

These ‘jute geo applications’ may soon progress from an experimental stage to wider applications, the relatively lower cost being one of the factors.

The International Jute Study Group, headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and with study centres across India, had received $4 million funding from global institutions, Mr. Bhattacharya said. The study group would focus on seeds development and seeds testing, necessary for international marketing of jute goods.

The benefits would go beyond traditional jute growing areas like West Bengal to regions in the South such as parts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala where jute is now being cultivated. Shrinkage of acreage in the traditional growing regions could be reversed if the government support price of Rs. 1,350 a quintal was revised.

The annual turnover of the finished jute goods market is estimated at Rs. 5,500 crore. Till recession overcame the West, annual exports were around Rs. 1,200 crore, showing a steady growth till last fiscal when a fall in exports was felt.

This was still being calculated. Sales of industrial jute goods like hessian fell during the first half of the current year.