Panel suggests 100% foodgrain packaging in jute bags

Kolkata, June 23 The Standing Advisory Committee (SAC) has recommended that 100 per cent of foodgrain produced should be packaged in jute for the current year, allowing a dilution of up to 10 per cent at a time and 30 per cent in the year, if jute mills fail to supply the bags within the permissible 30 days, an official said on Saturday.

In its 26th meeting, the committee, which recommends jute packaging norms to the government, also suggested 20 per cent of sugar productions should be reserved for packing in jute bags.

Considering that jute is a biodegradable and eco-friendly fibre, the jute industry requires "sustenance till it diversifies and captures the domestic and global market on its own steam," the committee noted.

"In the recent SAC meeting, it recommended that 100 per cent of the foodgrains produced should be reserved for packing in jute. On receiving the entire requirement from procurement agencies for packaging of foodgrains in jute bags, if jute mills fail to supply bags within the permissible 30 days, the Department of Food and Public Distribution may allow dilution of packaging material upto 10 per cent at a time and upto 30 per cent in the whole year with the approval of Ministry of Textiles, the official said referring minutes of the meeting.

The SAC also recommended if the procurement agencies do not place indents as per the supply plan prepared by the Department of Food Public Distribution and if bunching of demand (indents) takes place, the procuring agency will not be entitled for dilution.

"The jute mills will get reasonable additional time for the supply of additional jute bags. However, if the mill fails to supply the bags in the extended period the provision of dilution will apply," the official said.

Nearly 3.7 lakhs workers and 40 lakhs farmers are dependent on the jute sector for their livelihood and based on the last four years' trends, as well as the targeted requirement to pack the quantity of food grains to be procured under the Food Procurement Programmea the demand is likely to be in the range of 28-30 lakhs bales during 2018-19, the official said.

The industry had demonstrated its capacity of producing 2.5 lakh bales of sacking per month for packing food grains.

Further, in terms of the projections of the Jute Advisory Board, 72 lakhs bales of raw jute are likely to be produced during the Jute Year (July-June) 2018-19.

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