‘Value-added Jute-goods need policy support, research

Following the example of neighboring countries, the Government of Bangladesh will look into framing relevant policies to support the industry but it will need feedback and support from various stakeholders, including jute traders, large farmers and local entrepreneurs and investors, said GolamDastagirGazi (Birpatik), Minister for Textiles and Jute on Wednesday.

He said innovative ideas need to receive policy support from the government for bringing in positive and transformative change in the sector. 

Minister made the remarks in a view exchange meeting as Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) Chairperson AbulKasem Khan called on GolamDastagirGazi (Birpatik), Minister for Textiles and Jute on Wednesday at his office at thesecretariat.

To encourage the jute sector, we may consider duty exemption for the entrepreneurs who use local pulp in their production.The export development fund (EDF) facility should be made accessibleto the country's jute exporters, added the Minister. 

In regard to jute-based pulp and paper he suggested that a well-designed pilot can be initiated on the basis of an effective proposal. BUILD Chairperson AbulKasem Khan suggested to the Minister that production of jute-based pulp from local green jute would not only be an attractive business propositionfor the sector, but it would also enable us to make strides towards becoming a green economy and addressingclimate change and environmental sustainability. 

The country produces 47.41% of world production of jute, yet imports 500-600 tonnes of pulp annually worth more than US$600 million. We need to set up mills to produce high quality pulp from local green jute which can help the rural economy and meet its entire demand for export, added BUILD Chair. 

He also urged the government to consider policy benefits for the sector by encouraging government purchase of Jute pulp-based paper in addition to other initial policy supports so thatlocal jute-based pulp producers can take off in business growth and eventually contribute for export in the context ofburgeoning demand in the world market as wood-based pulp is discouraged. 

We need to look at the present contribution of jute sector. Export of jute and jutegoods(July- Feb, FY 2020-21) is $765.63 million which is 27.08% higher than the same period of the previous year (USD 602.49 FY20).

LokmanHossainMiah, Secretary of Textiles and Jute said that the government appreciates the idea of making jute-based pulp from the local green jute and proper policies will be developed on the basis of research and analysis to make the local pulp cost-competitive.

As 7-20 percent incentives are offered on jute goods export, the government could consider similar benefits for jute-based pulp in future based on evidence on its economic and socio-environmental benefits. 

BUILD CEO FerdausAra Begum saidthat the Prime Minister earlier announced that jute would be treated as an agro product. However, since the recognition has not still been formalized, the sector still doesn’t receive the facilities available for the agro-based sectors.

The government could issue a circular in that respect.She informed that BUILD proposed for some policy reforms for jute-based products and proposed for a definition for diversified juteproducts which received government’s approval. Thanks to these policies, new industries such as espadrille have been established.