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Kailash Choudhary Calls for Creating Self-Employment Opportunities & to Make Clean & Green Environment through Jute & Allied Fibres

The minister expressed concern that due to climate change and continuous use of chemicals, synthetics and plastic our environment is deteriorating day by day. Multiple use of plastics and synthetics have caused major problems, it blocks the drainage channel, pollutes the water bodies, reduce the natural fertility of the soil.

Shivam Dwivedi
Kailash Choudhary, Minister of State, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Govt. of India, at Field Day-cum-Kishan Sammelan
Kailash Choudhary, Minister of State, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Govt. of India, at Field Day-cum-Kishan Sammelan

Minister of State, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Govt. of India, Kailash Choudhary graced a programme on ‘Field Day-cum-Kishan Sammelan’ organized at ICAR-Central Research Institute for Jute & Allied Fibres (CRIJAF), Barrackpore on 4th July 2022. During the interaction with the farmers in Kisan Sammelan, Kailash Choudhary, Minister and the Chief Guest of this programme said the farmers about the huge scope of natural fibres like jute, mesta, sisal, flax, ramie, sunnhemp, etc. to create self-employment opportunities and make clean and green India.

The minister expressed concern that due to climate change and the continuous use of chemicals, synthetics and plastic our environment is deteriorating day by day. Multiple-use of plastics and synthetics have caused major problems, it blocks the drainage channel, pollutes the water bodies, and reduces the natural fertility of the soil.

“We have now realized that plastic and synthetic are detrimental to the environment, agriculture, human and animal health because they are non-biodegradable. Plastic has already been banned in a phased manner by Govt. of India and now we have to think of alternative which is bio-degradable, sustainable and environment friendly. Now we have many alternative bio-degradable natural fibres like jute, mesta, sisal, ramie, flax, sunnhemp which have high commercial, eco-system, medicinal and pharmaceutical value,” he said.

 He appreciated the ongoing activities of ICAR- Central Research Institute for Jute & Allied Fibres (CRIJAF), Barrackpore, Kolkata towards this direction which have very focused research programme to achieve these objectives and urged to upscale these at National level.

Presently, India is self-sufficient in high-quality jute and allied natural fibre production and about 90% of the jute seeds is catered by ICAR-CRIJAF at the International market besides fulfilling the 100% breeder seed requirement of jute in the country. Due to huge demand of biodegradable fibre in western countries, the export of jute and the jute-based product has increased in recent years. This year (2021-22) the export of jute and jute-based products has earned of Rs.2950 crores, which is Rs.700 cores higher than in earlier years. Thus, there is a great opportunity for India to earn foreign exchange through jute and allied fiber-based products.

Kailash Choudhary also said that some of recent Govt. of India policies like ‘Compulsory Jute Packaging Act’, policy to ban ‘single-use plastic’ and revision of minimum support price of jute every year, launching of scheme like ‘Kisan Samman Nidhi’, ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’ will definitely give a phillip to the development of jute sector. He also said that the FPOs can explore the possibility of availing of agriculture infrastructure fund created by the Govt. to support post-harvest and processing unit and for entrepreneurship development and employment generation.

Presently, jute sector also supports 40 lakh farm families for their livelihood, beside it provides direct employment to 4 lakh workers in organized jute mills, also jute sector creates 10 million man-days. He urged FPOs Self Help Groups to generate off-farm income through handicrafts products, shopping bags, office stationaries, carpets etc. to check labour migration to replace plastic items.

Recently ICAR-CRIJAF has developed many high-yielding varieties of jute and allied fibres which has high potential yield of 40 q/ha to meet the demand of natural fibre and there is a need to adopt improved agro-technologies, farm machinery, post-harvest technology developed by ICAR-CRIJAF to achieve their potential. He also applauded that pond-based integrated farming cum jute retting system will serve multiple roles like water conservation, groundwater recharge, income generation reduction in cost of cultivation besides an assured source of water for jute retting.

The Minister also said that now we have to take pledge to remove plastic and synthetic from the earth because it not only pollutes the earth but also the production of plastics facilitates the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases which lead to global warming. On the other hand, jute is a biodegradable eco-friendly fibre and potential to absorb about 15 ton carbon dioxide per/ha from atmosphere in 120 days only.

To disseminate the viable jute and allied fibre farming technology, the mister told the scientists that the literature and the videos on agro-technology needs to be shared within the farming community in local languages for their better understanding which will be helpful to bridge the gap between farmers yield and potential yield and will facilitate to create doubling farmers’ income.

Earlier in the programme, Dr. Gouranga Kar, Director of ICAR-CRIJAF welcomed the minister and highlighted the achievements of his Institute. He briefed the different research, development and extension activities of the institute for the popularization of improved jute cultivation practices and jute-based micro-enterprises in rural area for socio-economic development of jute farmers as well as empowerment of the rural women and youth. He also indicated the several eco-system services and medicinal values of jute and allied fibre crops to make clean, green and healthy environment. He motivated the farmers to adopt improved jute production technologies as well as the several beneficial services offered by the government for the farmers.

Minister and other dignitaries also visited Exhibition Hall, Fibre Museum, farm pond based integrated farming system, improved jute retting complex and the and the machineries, laboratories and experimental farm, Krishi Vigyan Kendras of ICAR-CRIJAF. Around 250 farmers, farm women and SHG members, dignitaries of other institutes, Press & Media and Institute Staffs participated in this programme.  

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