A few years ago there was a bustling trade in cane products in Sylhet. But the traditional cane industry of the region is now under threat. The cane industry of Sylhet used to supply most of the cane furniture demand of the country. By fulfilling the internal needs of the country, these canes were exported to different countries of the world. Currently, it has decreased.
The workers and businessmen involved in the industry complain that once upon a time, a lot of cane was found in the hills of Sylhet. Their local names are jali bet, Gulla bet, and onna bet. But due to the cutting of mountains and deforestation, the local cane is not available anymore. In a word, the cane forest has been depopulated. At the same time, the price of the raw material of cane has become much higher than before. So the workers are unable to keep up with the cost. All in all, this industry is now under threat.
Only five-six years ago there were hundreds of Cane furniture shops in Sylhet. Now as the number of furniture shops has decreased, so has the number of workers. The workers associated with this profession are now suffering. Workers are moving to other professions due to the financial crisis.
Cane is being imported from abroad as the demand for cane is not being met due to a decrease in cane production. But due to high prices, traders are facing losses in this industry.
There is 'Betpalli' in Ghasitula of Sylhet city for making Cane furniture. Even a century ago, most of the cane products of the country were produced from this village. However, many people here have closed their businesses. Cane artisans have closed their businesses due to not getting a suitable price. However, several shops of the traditional cane-weaving industry still survive in the Ghasitula area. Almost every house in the Ghasitula area still has people involved in this industry. Many people are still following the art shown by their ancestors. They make various cane products at home and sell them in the market.
cane products include cane magazine rack, telephone chair, sofa sets, bed sets, sofa rack, trolley, table, shelf, reading table, rocking chair, telephone table, folding chair, arm chair, round coffee table, corner Sofa & Easy Chair, Full Easy Chair, Dining Set, Tea Trolley, Garden Chair, Paper Basket, Book Shelf, Magazine Basket, Dining Chair, Bungee Table, Court Hanger, Wrap, Baby Cot, Bottle Rack & Planter.
Talking to customers in several shops, they said that cane products are very comfortable to use and it looks good too. If there are cane items in the house, the beauty of the house increases many times. Although there is still a demand for cane products, they are no longer available as they used to be. Also, the price is very high. Besides, many plastic items have come out which are very cheap and easily available. These cane items have now become a luxury products.
People familiar with the industry say that there is still a huge demand for cane furniture in the market. About 50 types of cane products are being made in a few shops in Sylhet.
Businessmen said that business patterns have changed a lot now, many are now selling in different parts of the country through online. However, the industry is lagging as the cane weavers are not financially supported. Those involved in this business think that if the cane is produced again in Sylhet, this industry will be able to turn around again. It is possible to earn a lot of foreign exchange by exporting rattan furniture.