POST TIME: 14 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Bangladesh unable to capitalise on potential for jute exports
Anisur Rahman Khan

Bangladesh unable to capitalise on potential for jute exports

Bangladesh’s jute and jute products exports are unable to rise further because of shortage of production and lack of diversification, despite there being a huge demand for jute products in around 60 countries across the globe.

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), the nation earned USD 66.18 crore between July and January in the 2017-18 fiscal year by exporting jute and jute products. This is 10.07 per cent higher than the target of USD 60.12 crore.

The export earnings increased by 17.36 per cent within this period, compared to the 2016-2017 fiscal year, sources said. It was USD 56.39 crore between July and January in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

According to the EPB, Bangladesh earned USD 9.55 crore by exporting raw jute, USD 41.46 crore by exporting jute fiber and USD 9.25 crore by exporting jute gunny and bags in the current fiscal. Besides, USD 7.3 crore were earned in the same fiscal by exporting other jute products.

“There is a huge demand for jute and jute products in 60 countries across the world and the nation is unable to export such products as per the demand. We are still lagging behind in terms of production and jute diversification,” Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) chairman Dr Mahmudul Hasan told this correspondent.

The government has taken a special initiative to improve the quality of jute produced and diversification of jute products, he said, adding that the incentive has been increased for product diversification.

“The cash incentive has been increased to 20 per cent for exportable jute product diversification. We are getting results after introducing cash incentive in this sector. The export volume is increasing due to quality production,” he said in reply to a query.

People of western countries, including European nations, have grown an interest in natural products like jute goods, he added.

“Keeping their interest in mind, Bangladesh is producing new varieties of jute products through diversification. We will take the initiative for branding Bangladesh’s jute products both at home and abroad,” he said.

Quality seeds are collected locally

to increase jute production, so

that farmers benefit from cultivating jute, Hasan said.

“We hope farmers will be more interested in cultivating jute after getting quality seeds, which will help to increase their production too,” he added.

He further said that modern machineries and equipment have been installed in jute mills to bring diversification in jute products.

Moreover, the use of "genome sequencing" in inventing technology and innovating solution, whether in the form of higher yield seed or improved processing means, to enhance the quality and reduce the cost of jute products is yet to materialise.

A total of 22 state owned jute mills and about 200 private ones are operating in the country.

The production of the most affordable natural fibre rose from over 42 lakh bales in 1971-72 to over 82 lakh bales in the last fiscal year (2016-17).

The livelihood of about 25 million people is dependent on jute-related activities in agriculture, domestic marketing, manufacturing and trade.

Jute fibre is 100 per cent bio-degradable and recyclable, and thus environment-friendly.

Bangladesh is now exporting jute and jute products to Canada, Japan, Indonesia, India, Austria, Afghanistan, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Algeria, Bulgaria, Chili, China, Congo, Costarica, Egypt, Italy, Germany, Malaysia, Irelands, Iran, Myanmar, Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, the UK, Vietnam, Portugal, Libya, Morocco, Mexico, Gambia, Uganda, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, the USA, Ethiopia and Guatemala.