Jute industry going through rough patches

Time to diversify products, expand export market

No one can rebut the instrumental role that has been played by the present government in bringing back the glorious past of jute. As consequences of sheer endeavors from the part of the government, the golden fiber of Bangladesh showed a beacon of hope and it was turning out to be an important agro-product as its demand was increasing abroad against the backdrop of the world’s inclination towards ‘green’ solutions.

 But over the last few months country’s jute sector has been facing a severe crisis because of the falling demand of jute and jute goods in the international markets, mostly Turkey and India. Therefore, we must sort out the problems overwhelming our jute industry and devise necessary steps to fix them in no time. According to the Export Promotion Bureau, shipment of jute goods, including jute yarn, which is the main export earner in the sector, dipped 23 percent year-on-year to USD 532 million until March of the current fiscal year.

 Also, exports of traditional jute goods have been falling in the face of competition from low-priced polypropylene and synthetic goods. In addition, the domestic market is also not growing much because of poor performance by the BJMC, limited capacity of private millers, market-distorting activities and lack of varied products.

For expanding the export

 market of jute goods, 

efficientand sustainable diversification

 of jute goods is a must

We envisage that jute has the potential to play a vital role in expanding the export market, earning foreign currency, safeguarding the environment, and generating employment. For expanding the export market of jute goods, efficient and sustainable diversification of jute goods is a must. Only a diversified range of jute products can fully revive the potential of jute-based products as a major export sector. 

But, unfortunately only a handful of private and public mills and small entrepreneurs produce differentiated jute goods in the country. The government’s 20 percent cash incentive for making diversified jute products will not help, if the prices of raw materials remain high and the decades-old machinery, mostly in the state-run mills, is not replaced with modern ones. 

It is said that for ensuring the optimum production of jute goods, upgrading or elevating the jute mills is more of necessity. Also in order to diversify the usage of jute, government should provide encouragements to small growers and local entrepreneurs for producing better quality jute.