Smriti Irani launches certified Juteseed distribution programme

Jute I-CARE area increased by more than 10% compared to non-Jute I-CARE area

Kolkata, Feb 15 (FN Agency) Union Textile Minister Smriti Zubin Irani launched the VII phase of Jute- Improved Cultivation and Retting Exercise programme today by distributing certified seeds of improved jute varieties and inaugurated training cum workshop for jute farmers under Jute I-CARE for the farmers of West Bengal and Odisha through a virtual conference organized at ICAR-CRIJAF, Barrackpore and JCI RLD, Bhadrak. This is an innovative programme being implemented by The Jute Corporation of India Limited and National Jute Board with the technical help of ICAR-Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied Fibres (CRIJAF), Barrackpore for promotion of major technologies of ICAR-CRIJAF for improvement of productivity, quality and profitability of jute crop.

The scheme has been completed for six years that has brought revolutionary changes in the quality jute fibre cultivation in India. Certified seeds of improved varieties of jute (JRO 204 and Ira), CRIJAF-Multi Row Seed Drill, Nail weeder and microbial retting consortium-CRIJAF SONA developed by ICAR-CRIJAF are being popularized through large scale training, demonstration and distribution of key inputs and machineries among the beneficiary farmers. In her address to the farmers Smt. Smriti Irani told that availability of certified seeds of jute are the most important component for successful jute cultivation. Due to non-availability of genuine certified seeds, farmers used poor quality seeds with least genetic and physical purity which resulted in poor yield.

In this context, Ministry of Textile in collaboration with ICAR-CRIJAF and National Seeds Corporation took initiatives through JUTE I-CARE programme to ensure availability of good quality certified seeds of improved varieties developed by ICAR-CRIJAF for the farmers of West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Meghalaya and MoU was made between the Ministry of Textiles and National Seed Corporation for production of 10,000 quintals certified seed of JRO 204 which will be distributed to farmers. This project has a tremendous impact on enhancing the productivity and quality of jute within next 4-5 years. The Minister informed that in the sixth phase of the programme even amid COVID-19 pandemic, the Jute-ICARE project was carried out in 130 blocks under WB, Bihar, Assam, Odisha, Meghalaya and Andhra Pradesh covering 1,10,893 ha area involving 2,58324 farmers during 2020-21. About 604 MT of certified seed of cv. JRO 204 and JBO 2003H, 600 nos. of CRIJAF multi row seed drill and 900 nos. of single wheel jute weeder were distributed among the farming community. During retting season, 500 MT of CRIJAF SONA were distributed among the farming communities for improved retting of jute and mesta. Altogether 300 demonstrations of sowing, weeding and improved retting were conducted by the master trainers and block supervisors across the country under the technical supervision of scientists of ICAR-CRIJAF.

The fibre yield of jute in Jute I-CARE area increased by more than 10% compared to non-Jute I-CARE area and fibre quality ranged between TDN2 and TDN3. On an average the farmers got higher market price for their quality jute fibre. Sri Sanjay Agrawal, Agriculture Secretary reiterated the role of quality seeds in jute cultivation and mentioned that National Seed Corporation is very proactively involved in production and availability of certified seeds for this coveted scheme. Sri Upendra Prasad Singh, Textile Secretary in his address expressed satisfaction regarding the progress of Jute I-CARE so far and asked the framers to enrol in larger number for getting maximum benefit of this flagship programme. Sri Maloy Chandan Chakraborty, Jute Commissioner and Cmde.

Ajay Kumar Jolly, Managing Director, The Jute Corporation of India Limited asked the farmers to be aware about the new technologies developed by scientific organization like ICAR-CRIJAF and go for holistic adoption of technologies for better yield and profit. He highlighted Jute I-CARE activity implemented through concerted efforts of JCI, NJB, ICAR-CRIJAF. Dr. Gouranga Kar, Director, ICAR-CRIJAF emphasised that the new varieties developed by the institute can fulfil the demand of jute fibre in near future, provided these are cultivated with new crop production technologies. Dr. Kar acknowledged the Minister and Textile Ministry for keeping faith on the varieties and technologies developed by ICAR-CRIJAF. A Training cum Workshop for jute farmers under Jute I-CARE was organized in the afternoon. The scientists of ICAR-CRIJAF trained the farmers on new technologies for jute cultivation, use of machineries and retting in the afternoon. Fifty farmers from jute growing districts of West Bengal participated in the training programme under Jute I-CARE.