In knotty problems

The outcry and ban against plastic bags and single-use plastic packaging hold potential for the jute sector. But the more than a 100-year-old sector, supporting five million families at the farm and the industry-level, may not be in a position to benefit from this opportunity, right away

Challenges:

More than 100-year-old Jute sector, supporting five million families at the farm and the industry-level, may not be in a position to benefit from this opportunity, right away.

The availability of quality raw jute and shrinking acreage on the one hand and the failure of most jute mills to modernize has left the sector dependent on government-support like packaging reservations.

The sector is still primitive, involves labor-intensive cultivation methods and retting (drenching raw jute in water to extract the fiber) — a crucial determinant in raw jute quality — creates problems.

With raw jute prices remaining below the support price in 2017-18, area-under-cultivation may stagnate in 2018-19.

Efforts to support the sector:

A recent initiative called ‘The Jute Foundation’ (TJF) is trying to address many issues pertaining to the environment-friendly product. It is trying to engage all stakeholders –farmers, workers, mills, research organizations, and consumers.

The I-CARE programme unveiled by the National Jute Board and the Jute Corporation of India is planning to introduce a pilot project on retting technologies aimed at increasing farmers’ returns.

Jute Technology Mission (JTM):

Jute Technology Mission (JTM) was approved by the government of India in 2006 and it has 4 mini Missions. The Objectives of the JTM are as follows:

To strengthen agricultural research and technology achievements.

Development/extension of raw jute Ministry of and transfer of improved technology.

To develop efficient market linkages Ministry of for raw jute.

To modernize, technologically upgrade, improve productivity, Textiles diversify and develop human resource for the jute industry.

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