Jute farmers in Magura district are losing interest in jute cultivation as they are not getting enough water for retting raw jute for lack of rainfall.
Farmers said rivers, canals have been dried up due to scanty rain and they are being forced to rot jute in the ponds that may affect the quality of jute fiber.
Many farmers are being forced to carry their harvested plants to other areas in hopes of finding suitable waterbodies which have increased the production cost.
Visiting different areas of the district, the UNB correspondent found that after the Boro paddy harvest, many lands are lying uncultivated and jute have been cultivated on small scale.
Talking to UNB, some farmers said farmers are not showing interest in jute cultivation for various reasons including not getting expected price, scanty of water and increased production cost.
In Shalikha upazila of the district, some farmers were seen spending a busy time with jute on the banks of rivers, canals or ponds, some are extracting jute fiber from the sticks, some are washing jute and some are taking jute bales to home.
Fasiar Mollah, a farmer of Gangarampur union, said, “This year I have sown jute on 6 acres of land, the yield has been good, more than half of the jute has been harvested, which has been kept in the nearby river for rotting.”
Nazrul Mollah, a farmer of Pukuria village of Arpara union, said, “I have cultivated jute on five bighas of land, i will sow jute on more bighas of land next year if I get good price excluding the cost of irrigation, retting and washing.”
According to Shalikha upazila agriculture office sources, jute has been cultivated on 3950 hectares of land this year, where the target was 39 355 hectares. Jute has been sown on 15 hectares more land than the target.
Upazila Agriculture Officer Alamgir Hossain said jute farmers are facing problem this year due to lack of adequate rainfall, but if jute is rotten in the ribbon-retting system, the color and quality of jute fiber will be good on the one hand and the cost will be less on the other hand. “In order to encourage farmers to cultivate jute, our department is giving advice as well as giving various trainings on farming,” he said.