Kendrapara, June 26 (LocalWire): Jute cultivation has been hampered in the coastal district of Kendrapara as seeds have not been supplied by the Odisha Seed Supply Corporation to the farmers.
Farmers alleged they are being forced to purchase sub-standard seeds from the open market at a much higher price of Rs 8000 to 9000 per quintal although the official rate is Rs 6700 per quintal.
‘The authorities are not supplying sufficient seeds to them, said the secretary of the district unit of Krusaka Sabha, Gayadhar Dhal.
Nabakishor Sethi, the zonal manager of Odisha Seed Corporation, Cuttack, said, ‘Jute farmers sow seeds in the month of April but we got jute seeds during the last week of May and the farmers refused to purchase seeds from us.’
Hari Chandra Rath, the jute officer of district agriculture office at Kendrapara said, ‘This year around 5000 jute farmers planned to grow the cash crop in over 600 hectares of land and required around 3600 quintals of seed.
Even a decade ago farmers here grew jute in over 3000 hectares of land but are slowly producing less because of the increase in the use of polythene and plastic. Industries use polythene, plastic and synthetic fibres to prepare bags and the demand for jute has nosedived in the state.’
‘The extent of jute cultivation has drastically come down in the district and to encourage jute cultivation, we provided them free seeds in a demonstration project,’ added Rath.
‘I planned to grow jute this summer but was forced to abandon the plan due to non-supply of seeds by the agricultural department.
I do not want to take the risk by sowing sub-standard jute seeds from the open market,’ said Rashmi Ranjan Sahoo of village Baulanga.
Like Rashmi Ranjan several jute farmers are compelled to relinquish jute cultivation this year.
‘Jute was an important cash crop two decades back.
But due to the slipshod attitude of the authorities and failure to adopt and implement pro-jute crop policy, this industry is now in a moribund condition,’ said Umesh Singh a farmers’ leader in Kendrapara.