APJDC initiative aimed at increasing crop area
Barring the presence of a score of officials from the District Industries Centre, Jute Corporation of India and bankers, not a mesta (gogu naara) farmer turned up at the awareness camp conducted by the Andhra Pradesh Jute Development Centre Limited (APJDC) at Zilla Parishad conference hall here on Saturday. The objective of the conference was to encourage mesta growers to increase the crop area.
Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of APJDC B.V. Rama Rao waited patiently for about two hours for Collector M. Veerabrahmaiah, who was to light the lamp to mark its inauguration, and finally when it was made known that the Collector was pre-occupied with other assignments he decided to address those present.
Detailing the pains he took to start the APJDC, a special purpose vehicle with public-private partnership, he blamed Joint Director (Agriculture) V. Narasimhulu, who reportedly promised to mobilise at least 70 mesta farmers for the camp, for “ditching” him at the last minute.
The JD (A) also did not turn up at the meeting. This showed the department's concern for mesta growers, who, he said, were already not getting minimum support price.
Advice to growers
Owing to lack of MSP, the crop area of mesta shrunk gradually in Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts despite having 19 jute industries, he said. However, the APJDC had decided to do justice to the farmers, Mr. Rama Rao said.
He called upon the farmers not to sell raw material below Rs. 3, 000 per quintal and seed below Rs. 5, 000 as the APJDC would lift the entire stock.
L. Lakshman, General Manager of DIC, regretted that jute diversification had not taken place in the State and lauded Mr. Rama Rao for taking interest to open jute parks in the near future for promotion of quality products at reasonable price. The jute sector would develop if only entrepreneurs showed interest in setting up major units.
A. Guru Prasad, Regional Manager of Jute Corporation of India, said in accordance with the National Jute Policy declared in 2005, the corporation had supplied seed for raising mesta in 1 lakh acres, but the peculiar problem haunting growers was lack of minimum support price.
The JCI, which had been fixing rate per quintal since 1997-98, was unable to lift the stock as the price offered in the open market was more than the JCI offered rate. V. Surya Prakasa Rao, Senior Branch Manager of Bank of Baroda, G. Satya Murty, Branch Manager, APSFC and others were present.