JUTE WOULD FOLLOW THE COTTON
REVOLUTION WITH GENETIC ENGINEERING
Use of biotechnology is going to bring a paradigm shift in the field of jute and allied fibers farming in India in next few years. The Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied Fibers (CRIJAF),a premier crop research institute of Indian Council of Agricultural Institute (ICAR)is geared up to tap the potential of genetic engineering to develop jute varieties /hybrids resistant to herbicides and insect pests.
According to Vision 2030 of CRIJAF (Central Research Institute of Allied Fiber), Bt jute can follow the current trend of cotton in India. Jute, the golden fiber of India is 2nd most important fiber after cotton and very popular because of cost effective production and eco friendly attributes. Jute is coming out as part of hard core fashion since people has become more conscious about environment and started using jute products as bags, clothes slippers, designer rugs and carpets, hand and office bags, cushion covers, bed spreads, garden pot hangings, designer sarees and many other daily use articles. The Indian jute sector comprises organized jute industry as well as a large number of cottage units providing employment to thousands of people. They create a myriad of utilitarian products a made of jute which reflect the traditional excellence of Indian craftsmanship. The increasing popularity of the jute products is basically for its low cost which makes it easily accessible to the poor citizenry.
West Bengal, the leading jute production state in India followed by Assam, Bihar, Orissa, Tripura, and Uttar Pradesh, has set up benchmark for jute production and state based institution of ICAR has give a forecast that Bt jute will bring dynamic changes in Jute agriculture and manufacturers of allied products. India is ranked on no1 position in jute production with more than 18, 46,000 tonnes per year followed by Bangladesh, China, Myanmar and others. Jute fiber is 100% bio-degradable and recyclable and thus environmentally friendly. It helps to make best quality industrial yarn, fabric, net and snacks. It is one of the most versatile natural fibers that have been used in raw materials for packaging, textiles, non-textile, construction and agricultural sectors.
Vision-2030 document narrates key challenges and opportunities in the jute and allied fiber sector in next two decades for developing an appropriate strategy and gives a road map to articulate role of CRIJAF in shaping the future of this sector.
Jute,"the golden fiber of India", though occupies only 0.42% of gross cropped area, provides livelihood to more than 40 lakh farm families. It also provides direct and indirect employment to another 10 lakh people in the industrial sector. But nowadays jute farming suffers from deficit rainfall. Need for concerted research efforts to mitigate the drought stress through strengthening of breeding programmes for developing drought tolerant varieties and manipulation of agronomical practices etc is being realized. The carbon sequestering capacity of jute and kenaf is several times higher than that of tree crops. In this context, carbon trading needs to be promoted and this will ensure additional income to jute farmers.
CRIJAF also plans to use nanotechnology to
i. achieve lighter weight, higher strength materials;
ii. produce nano-crystalline fibrils from jute and allied fibers and other allied advantages.
Nanotechnology can improve understanding of biology of jute and allied fiber crops and thus potentially enhance yields or nutritional values.
Source:Agriculture Today (2011). "Jute would follow the cotton".Agriculture Today, Dec 2011, pp 18.
Submitted by samatham on Tue, 20/12/2011 - 13:39