2008-09 raw jute crop size could be fixed at around 75 lakh bales
Farmers in parts of semi-northern Bengal, Bihar, Midnapore, Orissa and Assam switched over to cultivation of other cash crops such as the ‘Boro’ variety of paddy, maize, groundnut .
Ambar Singh Roy
Kolkata, June 29 The size of the raw jute crop for the jute year 2008-09 (July-June) is expected to be substantially lower than earlier years, thanks to floods in several jute-growing areas and a lower acreage under jute cultivation in the run-up to the 2008-09 jute year.
Informed sources here said that based on information from jute-growing areas in upcountry, the size of the 2008-09 raw jute crop could be pegged at around 75 lakh bales (each bale is 180 kg). This would be substantially lower than the latest market estimates of the 2007-08 raw jute production of around 93 lakh bales.
Sources said the total raw jute available in 2007-08 jute year was 126 lakh bales.
This included a carry forward stock of 23 lakh bales, a crop of 93 lakh bales and imports from Bangladesh at 10 lakh bales.
The total consumption in 2007-08 was around 106 lakh bales. This included mills’ consumption of 97 lakh bales, and others nine lakh bales. As such, the carry forward stock to the 2008-09 jute year would be around 20 lakh bales.
The recent floods in West Bengal impacted the raw jute crop in jute growing districts of Midnapore and Bardhaman. Jute growing areas of Assam and Orissa were also affected. Consequently, raw jute production in these areas would be lower than in earlier years.
Additionally, acreage under jute cultivation has reduced with farmers in parts of semi-northern Bengal, Bihar, Midnapore, Orissa and Assam switching over to the cultivation of other cash crops such as the ‘Boro’ variety of paddy, maize, groundnut and sesame.
Reports coming in suggest that the size of the raw jute crop in these areas would be barely 50 per cent of that estimated earlier.
Market watchers said that with a carry forward stock of 20 lakh bales and a crop of 75 lakh bales, the total raw jute available in 2008-09 would be around 100 lakh bales, including five lakh bales that are expected to be imported from Bangladesh.
The ensuing scenario has begun to impact prices of raw jute in the Kolkata market.
On Friday, the benchmark TD4 grade of raw jute ex-Bengal was quoted at Rs 1,495 a quintal at the Jute Balers’ Association here.
On May 31, 2008, it was quoted at Rs 1,440 a quintal.
On June 14, 2008, the TD 4 grade was quoted at Rs 1,460 a quintal and marginally higher at Rs 1,475 on June 19, 2008.Related Stories:
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