Kumaresh Barai, a jute farmer, lives in the village of Araishat of Magura Sadar Upazilla, of District Magura. Kumaresh used to cultivate jute using the traditional methods. He became a member of the Araishat Jute Producer Group of the USAID Agricultural Extension Support Activity (Ag Extension Project). He cultivates jute in half of his total 8 bigha lands. Kumaresh had no clear ideas on local variety of jutes, seed selection, disease and pest management, etc. and he usually cultivated the Indian variety Krishi Sebayon and Maharastro jute following the traditional broadcast method of spreading the seeds. He did not get very good yield from the jute cultivations; moreover he faced various difficulties and financial losses also.
After becoming a member of the jute group, Kumaresh received training on identifying better variety of jute and seeds and also learnt about systematic row cultivation. The project selected 20 shatak of his land as demo plot where he cultivated BADC Tosha and O-9897 – the local variety of jute in rows and got maximum yield of 4 mon jute this year. He also received a good price while selling the jute in the market.
Unlike broadcast sowing, it is easier to nurture plants in row cultivations; the plants also get less affected by weeds, diseases and pests in row cultivations.
Watching Kumaresh’s systematic row cultivation and the yield, and also the return from this cultivation, the group members and other jute farmers of the community showed interested to follow his techniques in their lands also.