An ongoing dry spell has turned waterbodies in Jhenidah almost empty, leaving farmers without much option for retting jute.
Finding no other alternative, many of them have been transporting the produce to distant locations for retting, raising their cost of production.
The additional cost will ultimately have an adverse effect on their earnings as it will lower their profit margin, said the farmers.
According to Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Jhenidah, jute cultivation has expanded from 15,480 hectares last fiscal year (2018-19) to 20,425 hectares during current fiscal year (2019-20) in the district.
Unfortunately, scanty rain this year might jeopardise the jute farmers’ prospect of making much profit, said GM Abdur Rauf, deputy director of DAE in Jhenidah.
At least a waist-deep water is needed for retting of jute, he said, adding that the rainfall recorded in August, only 196 millimetres, is not sufficient enough.
Farmers said they grew more jute this year with high hopes. But the insufficient rain is likely to put a dent in that hope as they are now spending an additional transport cost of Tk 3,000 for jute grown on each bigha of land.
Farmer Kamal Hossain from Raghunathpur village in Kaliganj upazila said he already spent Tk 14,000 for jute he cultivated on one bigha and unless he finds a place for retting the fibre, he will incur huge losses this year.
Another farmer, Sujit Kumar Biswas, from Beleghat in Shailakupa upazila, said his investment of around Tk 41,000 on three bighas of land will be lost if he is unable to extract the fibre after retting.