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Push for increasing supply of certified jute seeds at low cost

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2017-04-15 11:00:00 – Kolkata

After the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs had increased MSP by Rs 300 to Rs 3,500 per quintal for 2017-18 season, the Union textiles minister Smriti Irani along with the Jute Corporation of India and the National Jute Board has asked to help increase the supply of certified jute seeds at a cheaper price to farmers in consultation with the National Seeds Corporation.

Irani gave these directions at a recent inter-department meeting which discussed concerns raised by the industry about the poor grade of raw jute, which was affecting the quality of finished bags.

The textile minister also stressed the need to create awareness among farmers about the benefits of using certified jute seeds and improved retting (soaking the fibre) and production technology through Krishi Vigyan Kendras.

She added that an MoU with the National Seed Corporation can help place a formal demand for better quality seeds. Raw jute quality was a concern raised by stakeholders of the industry and if better quality of seeds along with improved cultivation technique are used some of the concerns about quality are likely to be addressed.

According to industry sources, around 6,000 tonnes of seeds are required annually for cultivation and only a part of the total quantity is of the high yielding variety and conform to certified standards. This affects the quality of lightweight jute sacks which require finer counts of yarn.

The textile minister also called for scaling up of jute ICARE (Improved Cultivation and Advanced Retting Exercise) programme, which is being promoted by the Centre and aims to modernise certain aspects of jute farming and improve farmers' income. In addition, the ministry is promoting new varieties of jute.

Shares of jute companies have rallied following the hike in minimum support price (MSP) on Wednesday. Companies such as Gloster and Cheviot have risen 11.1 per cent and 7.7 per cent, respectively, on the BSE after the announcement.

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