Jute growers suffer losses on low output

Production might have declined by 30-40pc
The country’s jute growers have incurred huge losses this season as most of them failed to achieve their production target due to unfavourable weather during the cultivation, growers and traders told New Age. They feared jute production might have declined by 30-40 per cent this year across the country due to severe drought in the beginning of the season and downpour in the mid-season.
Due to the decrease in jute production, its prices increased by 15 per cent compared with the last year’s price, but most of the marginal growers could not gain profit as they failed to achieve their normal production target, they said.
Jute is now selling at Tk 1,700-Tk 1,800 a maund (a maund is equal to 37.32kg) in Faridpur, at Tk 1,600-Tk 1,700 a maund in the markets of northern districts and Tk 1,500 a maund in Jessore. The prices were higher by Tk 200-Tk 300 a maund than that in last year.
Nazrul Islam, a farmer in Chatmohar Upazila in Pabna, said he got better price at Tk 1,500 a maund in the beginning of the harvest that was higher than the last year but his production declined by almost 50 per cent.
‘I harvested 15 maunds of jute from one acre of land this year whereas I had harvested 30 maunds from the same land last year,’ he said.
Nazrul said instead of making profit he had to incur loss of Tk 4,000 this season.
He also said that the prices of jute increased further over last one month and it was selling at Tk 1,700 a maund; but only affluent growers were getting the benefit as most of the marginal growers had to sell their products immediately after the harvesting.
Sheikh Mohammed Badsha, a trader in Bhanga Upazila in Faridpur, said there was a supply shortage of jute in the market and the item was selling at Tk 1,600-Tk 1,800 a maund over the last one month.
Badsha, also a grower, said he had harvested about 69 maunds of raw jute from his eight bighas of land — about 40 per cent lower than the production of last year.
Abdul Mannan, a wholesale trader at Pirgacha upazila in Rangpur, said he sold two trucks of raw jute to jute mills at Tk 1,670 per maund. He said the price of jute was Tk 1,300 a maund about a month ago.
Mannan also said the price was Tk 800-Tk 1,100 a maund last year.
Amal Ranjan Saha, deputy director general (jute) of Akij Jute Mills Ltd, said the jute prices were higher this year compared with the last year and they remained steady over the last one month.
‘Last year, the prices of jute were higher in the beginning of the harvest but came down within 15 days; but this year we have been forced to procure the item with higher prices due to insufficient supply,’ he said.
‘Our initial survey showed that the production of jute declined by 30-40 per cent this year due to drought and downpour,’ Amal said.
A source, however, said the jute mill owners had already decided to cut
their production and working hours in the name of avoiding stockpile of the exportable yarn but their main target was to decrease the prices of raw jute in the local market by creating less demand.
Jute department director general RC Barman told New Age, ‘The assessment of the total production has not been completed yet. So it is not the proper time to tell whether the production was lower or not.’
According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, total jute production declined to 74,36,228 bales in the financial year 2013-14 from 76,10,585 bales in the FY13.
Export earnings from jute and jute goods dropped by 20 per cent to US$ 824.49 million in the FY14 from US$ 1,030.61 million in the FY13, showed the data of the Export Promotion Bureau.

-With New Age input

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