Farmers’ attraction to growing jute is fading « Khabarhub

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KATHMANDU: Farmers in the Tarai-Madhes region are gradually losing interest in growing jute, which was once the main cash crop in the region. In particular, jute cultivation was widely practiced in Sunsari, Morang and Jhapa districts of Eastern Tarai.

However, it is seen that jute cultivation is no longer the attraction of farmers in recent years due to low returns on investment, lack of availability of new jute processing technologies and shortage of labor .

Jute cultivation is said to be gradually declining due to cumbersome processing and shortage of labor. Another factor that explains the decline of jute cultivation is the lack of irrigation facilities.

Jute cultivation has more than halved in Paschim Kushaha, Laukahi, Shreepur and Haripur areas and Narasingh Bhokraha in the southern part of Sunsari district. These areas were the main jute growing areas.

Similarly, jute cultivation in Kaptangunj, Madhya Harshahi, Ramgunj Sinuwari, Sahengunj and Babiya, Jalpapur regions has also more than halved these days, said Birendra Yadav, a local farmer.

He said they would grow jute if the local government offered farmers subsidies for the same.

Until a few years ago, farmers in Sunsari earned a decent income from growing jute. But these days, they only grow jute to use as firewood.

In fiscal year 2075/76, Province 1 had a jute crop on 7,285 hectares of land, producing 12,959 metric tons of raw jute.

Similarly, jute cultivation spanned 7,555 hectares in the 2076/77 financial year, producing 10,165 metric tons. In the 2077/78 financial year, cultivation extended over 7,415 hectares.

Jute cultivation had been in decline for some years, according to Tirtha Raj Rijal, head of the Jute Research Centre, Itahari. The technical difficulties of growing jute are responsible for its decline, he said.

Lately, the jute industries in the country have closed for various reasons. Faced with a decline in its production, the government at three levels should bring various programs to encourage farmers, he said.

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Keith P. Plain