Use of advanced technology for processing the plant prevents pollution
Initiative of National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD) with the support of non governmental organisation, Forum For Integrated Development (FFID), has shown the way to farmers in utilizing advanced technology in growing mesta crop, raw material for jute, in six mandals including Veeraghattam, Vangara and Regidi, and Amudalavalasa in Srikakulam district.
Raw jute consisting of jute and mesta has been used traditionally as a source of raw material for the packaging industry. Jute and allied fibres including mesta and their by-products are highly economical, renewable, natural sources of bio-energy and important means for mitigating global warming. However, the process of whole plant retting is done in conventional method under which defoliated mesta bundles are steeped in clean or stagnant water of local ponds.
The usage of advanced technology prevented pollution of local ponds while helping farmers to get remunerative price from jute mills with the production of quality mesta. Earlier, the mills used to pay only Rs.17 per kilo of mesta but it has gone up to Rs.21. On an average each farmer is able to get around Rs. 2,400 additional income for each acre in which 600 quintals of mesta is produced during six months of crop period.
NABARD Assistant General Manager K.Subramaniyam, FFID Founder V.Vasudeva Rao and Project Coordinator D.Ramesh toured extensively six mandals to promote mesta crop and help around 2,500 farmers in using new farming techniques. NABARD spent around Rs 10 lakh and FFID invested Rs.2 lakh for the usage of advanced technology.
The adoption of innovative “Ribbon retting” and “In situ whole plant retting technologies” developed by CRIJAF require less volume of ground water, improve fibre quality at least by two grades. “This technology is farmer and environment friendly, cost effective and commercially viable. The introduction of this innovative technology may encourage farmers to revert to mesta cultivation in the district,” said Mr.Subramaniam. Mr.Vasudeva Rao hoped that more farmers will opt for mesta farming as it is providing good returns with less investment.