The government has moved to lower the dependence on neighbouring India for jute seed import by producing the same locally, officials said.
A Tk 6.76 billion project is underway to produce the seed — the plan is also on to develop high yielding and fast growing jute variety.
Presently, farmers need some 5,215 tonnes of jute seeds annually. Of the total demand, some 775 tonnes can be supplied by the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC).
Rest of the jute seed requirement is mainly met by importing from neighbouring India.
A recent meeting, chaired by Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, decided that seed production has to be enhanced to attain self-sufficiency on the item.
If needed, the land of the government-owned sugar mills, which were closed down recently, will be used for sufficient production of jute seeds, the meeting was told.
The project, to be implemented by BADC between July 2021 and June 2026, aims to produce necessary volume of breeder seed of jute, and enhance production of foundation seed from breeder seed and distribution of seeds among farmers at a subsidised rate, among others.
The Bangladesh Jute Research Institute will produce 3,600 kilogram of breeder seeds in the five-year period. Besides, it will produce 15,000 tonnes of certified seeds during the project tenure.
Bangladesh imports one jute seed variety from India and that has to be replaced by a similar variety invented locally, said the minister at the meeting.
“A country which is famous for jute production can’t be dependent for jute seeds on others,” he said.
Mr Razzaque also asked the authorities concerned to take other necessary programmes for attaining self-sufficiency and directed the same to form a high powered committee in this regard.
The committee will be tasked to prepare an action plan and monitor the implementation of the jute seed production project, he said.