Government to consider jute farmers’ interest: Minister

Kolkata : Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Sudarshan Bhagat on Saturday said the government will take a decision in the farmers interest when it comes to dilution of mandatory use of jute in food grains packaging.

“We will discuss it and the decision will be taken for the interest of farmers,” he said when asked whether the government is considering the dilution of mandatory use of jute in packaging for food grains.

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The government has been focusing on increasing income of farmers, he said while addressing the members of MCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Under the Jute Packaging Materials (Compulsory Use in Packing Commodities) Act, 1987, the government is required to consider and provide for the compulsory use of jute packaging material in the supply and distribution of certain commodities in the interest of production of raw jute and jute packaging material.

As per the government notification, in the last Jute season (July 2015-June 2016), 90 per cent of the food grains production was reserved for packaging in Jute and 20 per cent of sugar production was reserved for jute bag packaging. The government, however, stipulated some dilution in some cases if jute industry failed to meet government’s demand for jute bags.

According to industry estimates, there are about 3.7 lakh workers employed in the jute mills and 40 lakh farm families involved in jute production.

Unlike last year, the raw jute production is expected to be bumper this year starting from July. Industry players urged the government for 100 per cent mandatory jute packaging of food grains.