Jute processing is arduous work and requires the employment of expensive labour, so mechanisation of the entire process will reduce farmers' costs and increase the income received from jute production.
Abdul Alim Khan, chief scientific officer, Bangladesh Jute Research Institute, said this on Wednesday during a webinar titled – Jute Mechanisation: The Need and Ways Forward – organised by Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia-Mechanization Extension Activity (CSISA-MEA).
The project – CSISA-MEA – is being implemented by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in partnership with iDE and the Georgia Institute of Technology to facilitate the mechanisation of jute processing.
The project is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Abdul Alim Khan said the Georgia Institute of Technology has designed a jute fibre extraction machine that will not break the jute stick. In collaboration with Practical Action, private sector partners will be testing and manufacturing this machine, he added.
Highlighting the requirement of jute extraction machines, Benojir Alam, project director (Farm Mechanisation), Department of Agriculture Extension, said, there is a need for at least 7000 jute extraction machines before the next season begins.
Department of Agriculture Extension has already provided GDA for power seeder for jute seed, but jute cutter and harvester need to be included to ensure a large production of jute, he added.
Moinul Islam, head, Credit and SME, Bangladesh Krishi Bank, said global consumers increasingly demand environmentally friendly products where Bangladesh can play a strong role and make the jute sector the next emerging export earning industry.
Bangladesh Krishi Bank has innovative financing schemes to support mechanisation in the field, he added.
Timothy J Krupnik, project leader, CSISA-MEA and CIMMYT country representative in Bangladesh, said, four agricultural manufacturing entities are currently providing marketing and training support to jute farmers and traders on the use of the jute extraction machines.
The Metal Pvt Ltd, Tohura Engineering, Nasim Engineering, and RK Metal Ltd reached over 800 farmers and traders and secured sale leads, he added.