Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country
Prelims level: Jute Cultivation in India, I-CARE programme
Mains level: The news card highlights the need for revitalizing the labour intensive Jute Industry in India
Jute Sector is declining
- The outcry and ban against plastic bags and single-use plastic packaging holds potential for the jute sector.
- But more than the 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.
- The availability of quality raw jute and shrinking acreage on the one hand and the failure of most jute mills to modernise has left the sector dependent on government-support like packaging reservations.
- Primitive, labour-intensive cultivation methods and retting (drenching raw jute in water to extract the fibre) — a crucial determinant in raw jute quality — creates problems.
The Jute Foundation (TJF)
- It is trying to address many issues pertaining to the environment-friendly product.
- It is trying to engage all stakeholders –farmers, workers, mills, research organisations and consumers.
- TJF initiative is being introduced for the industry to work jointly with research and development agencies like IJIRA (Indian Jute Industries’ Research Association) and others to develop thin and slim jute shopping bags.
Jute Production in India
- West Bengal is India’s single largest raw jute cultivator producing almost 75 % of the crop in Nadia, Dinajpur, Murshidabad and North 24 Parganas districts.
- But acreage had stagnated amid low productivity and falling prices of the cash crop.
- The I-CARE programme unveiled by the National Jute Board and the Jute Corporation of India in 2015 seeks to address this issue by introducing a pilot project on retting technologies aimed at increasing farmers’ returns.