New jute variant promises rejuvenation of faltering industry

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Farmers in Gopalganj opine that Tosha Paat-8 is superior in quality, compared to the Indian JRO-524 variety, which is mostly cultivated across the country

Manoj Saha, Gopalganj: A new jute variant, invented by Bangladesh Jute Research Institute, known as Tosha Paat-8, is alluring Gopalganj farmers back to jute’s heydays of being a prominent cash crop.

This variant has yielded 3.45 tons in the current season, which is giving them hopes of substantial income.

Although Bangladesh is reliant on India for jute seeds, which is often alleged to be substandard, this new variety is grown in Bangladesh, and can be used to decrease the country’s dependency on its neighbouring country for jute cultivation.

Tosha Paat-8’s fibre texture is golden, while its lignin percentage is also very low, making it a high quality jute variant.

If it is compared to the Indian JRO-524 jute, the Bangladeshi Tosha Paat-8 yields 15-20% more, immensely benefiting farmers in Gopalganj.

Sources at Faridpur Jute Research Centre (FJRC) said, the government had launched Tosha Paat-8 for commercial cultivation in February this year.

Jute farmers picked this up for cultivation in Gopalganj, Madaripur, Faridpur, Rajbari, Shariatpur, and Magura districts, in a span of 492 hectares, and 640 plots.

Jute cultivation is gaining popularity in the district as the growers have been making a handsome profit from farming the cash crop in recent times.

Every year farmers in the area bring a vast tract of land under the jute production due to a good yield, and fair market price.

Md Muktar Hossain, a farmer from Mukundpur village of Gopalganj’s Kashiani upazila, said he had cultivated Tosha Paat-8 on 10 shatak land this season, while FJRC had provided him with the seeds, fertilizers, and logistical support.

He was able to grow the jute within 100 days. “Compared to the Indian JRO-524, Tosha Paat-8 is very fine, and contains minimal pricks,” he added.

Majibar Rahman, scientific officer at FJRC, said if the bases of the jute were not fully cut off this season, most of those would continue to grow well into the next season, making this a distinct cash crop for farmers.

Dr Md Mujibur Rahman, director of Bangladesh Jute Research Institute, said Tosha Paat-8 is energizing the farmers at root level, enticing them to regain the paydays experienced during jute’s peak years back in the 1970s-80s.

He said the success of this variant will definitely attract more farmers into jute farming, elevating them from poverty lines in the near future.

Courtesy: Dhaka Tribune

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