Jute prices go thru the roof
Jute prices have doubled to hit Tk 4,000-4,200 a maund in Faridpur, the biggest grower of the fibre in Bangladesh.
Traders in the district have blamed the price spiral on the poor supply of the item in the market.
"The price per maund of jute was Tk 2,200-2,400 during the harvesting season in the July-August period, which has increased to Tk 4,200 now. But the growers are not getting the benefit," said Jewel Munshi, a jute trader of Nagarkanda bazar.
The 30-year-old trader also alleged that a group of middlemen has created the crisis by storing a major portion of jute, which they collected during the harvesting season at low prices.
"They are now releasing the jute at high prices. Some of them are even mixing water and sand with the jute to make them heavier and bag more profits."
Most of the jute growers sold their produce during the harvesting season, when the government exported a big amount of jute abroad, said Ananda Saha, another jute trader of Kanaipur bazar under Sadar upazila.
This year, jute prices will be the highest in the history of Bangladesh, said Md Khokon Matabbar, another jute trader of Kanaipur bazar.
"Tk 3,000 a maund was the highest price I have ever seen since my entry into the business in 1993. That happened nearly a decade ago. I think the price will rise to Tk 5,000 a maund this year."
Jute was cultivated on about 85,000 hectares of land last year in nine upazilas in Faridpur from where 171,700 tonnes of jute were produced, said Md Hajrat Ali, deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Extension in the district.
Low production and raw jute export have played a vital role in creating the price spiral, said Morium Begum, regional assistant director of the Department of Jute in Faridpur.
Last year's jute production was 30 per cent lower than the previous year and a huge amount of raw jute was exported during the harvesting season, which created a shortage of supply in the market, she said.
"We conducted several drives throughout the district to catch the dishonest businessmen who sell jute by mixing it with water and sand. We don't have enough manpower to monitor the market properly."