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PM’s hand sought to save jute sector

Published : 03 Oct 2020 11:02 PM | Updated : 04 Oct 2020 12:47 AM

The country’s entrepreneurs have sought Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s intervention to save the jute sector.

A separate letter in this regard was also issued to several ministries last week, sources said. In a letter to the Prime Minister, it was stated that there is a fear about the survival of the jute sector. 

There is a shortage of raw jute now in season, the letter said. 

Prices of raw jute are now almost double compared to last year’s after sale to the market by farmers, it added. The cost of production of jute products is increasing due to unusually high prices, it said adding that raw jute is not available to purchase even at extra price. 

This situation has been created due to illegal stocks and abnormal exports of raw jute, it added.

Entrepreneurs have expressed fears that the jute mills may stop production in a few months due to lack of jute. 

There will be no demand for jute in the country next season, it said adding that if there is no demand, the price will fall. As a result, jute cultivation will be reduced in future, it mentioned.

The letter said the jute sector now directly and indirectly supports four crore people.

 As a result, it will have a negative impact on the entire economy, it said.

Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA) and Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association (BJSA), two organizations of jute entrepreneurs, have written to the Prime Minister seeking her intervention. 

Separate letters have been sent to Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi and Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman.

In the letter to the Prime Minister, it was said that jute production has come down to 20 lakh tonnes this time for repeated floods. 

Due to this, the price of a maund (40kg) has increased to Tk 3000, which is almost double that in the last season. 

On the other hand, the export of raw jute increased at an unusual rate in July.

The exports from this sector have increased by 59 percent in the month, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

The letter requested to stop the stockpiling of raw jute in the interest of the national economy, to take measures so that a licensee cannot collect more than one thousand maunds and not to stockpile for more than one month. 

Apart from this, export duty of at least $250 per tonne has been imposed to control the export of raw jute.

BJMA chairman, Mohammed Mahbubur Rahman Patwari said jute products are the only major product in the export sector with almost 100 percent value addition. 

The country earned several times more by exporting one tonne of jute products than raw jute, he informed. 

The gap in employment is even bigger, he said.

Only five to six people need to export one tonne of raw jute while 60 to 70 people are required to export one tonne of jute products, he added.

He said they export about seven lakh tonnes of jute goods a year. 

The country earned almost Tk 7500 crore by exporting jute products, he mentioned.

BJSA chairman Zahid Mia said, “If the price of jute goes up due to the unusual rise in the price of raw jute, consumers will be inclined towards alternative products.” 

Bangladesh will lose foreign buyers if jute mills close this season due to lack of jute, he added. 

Once foreign buyers leave Bangladesh and start  business with another country, they can no longer be brought back, he mentioned.

As a result, farmers, workers, consumers will all be affected, he informed.