Diminishing returns

  • 14/11/2003

Diminishing returns Jute is no longer a lucrative proposition as a cash crop for farmers in the Jhenidah district of Bangladesh. The absence of a well-managed marketing system in the district, coupled with the manoeuvrings of farias (agents), is forcing the area's jute growers to sell their produce at abnormally low prices. The trend is alarming, as jute mainly sustains the district's economy.

Though the production cost of jute stands at about US $0.19 per kilogramme (kg), the farmers are managing to sell it only at around US $0.11 per kg. Neither the government nor any private agency has set up a purchasing office anywhere in the district. The miseries of local farmers are likely to get compounded as prices plummet further in the approaching full season. The rising production costs and falling prices have resulted in Jhenidah's jute production falling by about 60 per cent over the years. In the current season, cultivation has been undertaken on only 7,995 hectares of land.

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