The price of jute has fallen sharply in the past two weeks after the government announced the shutting down of the country’s public sector jute mills when the new jute is going to arrive on the market in two to three weeks, growers and traders said.
They said that the price of 40 kilograms of jute was Tk 2,200–2,400 towards the end of June but the price fell to Tk 1,700–1,900.
The price fall would affect the growers whose jute plants are still standing in the field and whose jute would arrive on the market in the coming weeks, they feared.
Some farmers have already begun to harvest their jute and started the process of rotting them.
‘From the information collected from across the country, I came to know that the jute price has fallen by about Tk 500 per 40kgs,’ Bangladesh Jute Growers Association president Md Fazlul Hoque Sarker told New Age.
‘The price depends on the demand and as the government has closed all the 25 state-owned mills, the price has fallen,’ he said.
Big growers, though few in number, and traders still have last year’s jute in their stock, he went on.
Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi on June 27 said that the state-owned jute mills were likely to be closed down on July 1 and the government on July 2 announced the closure with effect from July 1.
‘There would be a market impact of closing the mills. As the mills were closed suddenly, the prices too fell suddenly — and sharply,’ said economist Anu Muhammad, a professor of Jahangirnagar University.
‘The mills were announced closed down when jute would arrive in the market within a few days. It’s a big question why the jute harvesting time was chosen for closing the mills,’ he said.
He said that the farmers would face losses due to the closure, especially when the country was going through the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Department of Agricultural Extension officials, a total of 7.2 lakh hectares of land were brought under jute cultivation in the country this year with the target to produce about 80 lakh bales of jute. One bale is equivalent to 180 kilograms.
Earlier, 6.51 lakh hectares were brought under jute cultivation in 2019, 7.58 lakh hectares in 2018 and 7.37 lakh hectares in 2017.
In the six months since January 1, 2019, the BJMC bought 11,737.34 tonnes of jute through its 98 jute purchase centres, according to the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation website.
Md Asab Ali, a jute grower of Gaziabari under Delduar in Tangail, told New Age that he had to sell his previous season’s jute at Tk 1,800 per 40 kilograms at local Chhilimpur bazaar though the rate was Tk 2,200 to Tk 2,400 towards the end of June.
He said that he had cultivated jute on four bighas of land and that it would not be possible for him to cultivate the crop in the next year if the price fall continued.
Md Liton of village Chawdhury Malancha under Tangail Sadar upazila echoed what Asab Ali said.
A jute trader at Chhilimpur bazaar, Gafur Byapari, said that the jute price had fallen by Tk 300 to Tk 500 per 40 kilograms suddenly after the closure of the government jute mills.
Mangal Adhikari, a jute trader at Kharnia bazaar in Dumuria under Khulna district, told the New Age correspondent in Khulna that he had to sell his jute at Tk 1,750 per 40 kilograms five days ago though the rate was Tk 2,400 earlier.
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