GOPALGANJ, Aug 19: Farmers of the district are facing difficulties in decomposing newly-harvested jute plants for shortage of open water bodies.
Sources said the number of ditches, canals and ponds are decreasing in the area alarmingly. Filling the open water bodies illegally and shortage of rainfall are the main reasons of such situation.
Draught like situation has been prevailing in the district over the last few weeks.
Officials of the local met office forecast a lowest rainfall this season.
Small water bodies are drying up. Many farmers have piled up jute plants under open sky in absence of sufficient water in the water bodies.
Santosh Biswas, sub-assistant agriculture officer of DAE, Jalalabad union of Sadar upazila, said jute harvesting is going on in full swing in the district but a good number of farmers cannot decompose their jute plants for shortage of water.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), a total of 23,950 hectares of land in all the five upazilas of the district were brought under jute cultivation this season.
Meanwhile, newly-harvested jute has started appearing in the local markets.
Tosa jute is selling at Tk 2,000 per maund and local variety at Tk 1,800 to Tk 2,000 per maund in local markets, said Sohel Rana, chief inspector of the Department of Jute, Gopalganj.
Moreover, traders' sources said they are now able to purchase the crop from growers due to fund shortage as mill owners did not pay their dues.
Our Sylhet correspondent adds: Growers of all the four districts of Sylhet division have achieved a good yield of jute this season as harvest is about to complete.
A total of 1,516 hectares of land were brought under jute farming in the region this season against the target of 1,685 hectares.
So far 1,478 hectares of jute lands have been harvested, informed an official of DAE, Sylhet divisional office.
So far per hectare average yield stood at about 1.61 tonnes in case of local variety while it is 1.84 tonnes in Tosa and 1.42 tonnes in Kenaf and 1.64 tonnes in Mesta varieties in Habiganj and Sunamganj districts.
However most of the produce in sylhet and Moulvibazar districts is consumed as vegetables, the official said.
The total yield in the two districts stood at around 2,000 tonnes yet.
The variety wise cultivated area includes local 539 hectares, Tosa 112 hectares, Kenaf 600 hectares and Mesta 265 hectares of land.
Additional Director of DAE, Sylhet divisional office, Md Altabur Rahman expressed the hope that jute farming area will be increased in the division in the coming years.
Some selected poor jute farmers were given some assistance this year, said the official, adding, better price has encouraged the farmers for growing jute.
Moreover, a good number of farmers cultivate jute every season as vegetable. They sell jute leaves in the market.
On the other hand the special programme for bringing arable lands under farming in the Sylhet division also contributed to some extent in this regard, the senior official noted.
Well to do farmer from village Turukbag under Golapganj upazila Ansar Ali said high price of jute leaves as vegetables inspires many cultivators in farming the item.
Our correspondent from Magura adds: Bumper production and fair market prices have brought smile on the faces of jute growers in the district.
The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Magura, sources informed some 29,500 hectares of land were brought under jute cultivation this season and some 2,80,050 bales jute have been produced.
Mrinal Kanti of Jagla village under Sadar upazila said he cultivated jute on five bighas of land and got a good yield.
He said adequate rainfall made the cultivation easier for him and saved cost.
The cultivator further said he did not save any problem in decomposing jute plants.
Farmer Ibrahim Ali of Amuria village under Magura Sadar said he got 25 maunds of jute from three bighas of land.
He said purchase centres of the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) in the district are offering Tk 1,700 per maund, whereas local traders are offering Tk 2,000 for the same amount.
The peasant said he sold all of his produce to local traders for more profit.
Assistant Manager of Magura BJMC purchase center Moshiur Rahman said farmers prefer selling jute to local traders as they offer high rate.
DAE office sources said jute cultivation will expand in the coming seasons if growers get repeated bumper production and fair prices.
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