POST TIME: 6 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Jute set to regain golden days
Rising global demand boosts production of the golden fibre in country

Jute set to regain golden days

A rise in the global demand for jute has translated into an increasing production of the golden fibre in the country. According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) data, jute accounted for 4.9 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP) in the last fiscal year. Sources in the Agriculture Information Services say that 77.95 lakh tonnes of jute was cultivated on 7.21 lakh hectares in FY 2015–16, 82.47 lakh tonnes on 7.38 lakh hectares in FY 2016–17, and 80.20 lakh tonnes on 7.89 lakh hectares in FY 2017–18.

The jute wing of BBS says that jute production has increased, on average, by 8.87 per cent every year in the last few years. Owing to reasonable market prices, favourable weather conditions, and availability of water, jute cultivation increased remarkably from 2015 to 2017, it adds.

But the production decreased slightly in the current fiscal year due to flash floods in the ‘haor’ area.

Officials of the Agriculture Information Services and the jute department say Bangladesh is the second largest jute-producing country after India.

In terms of jute exports, Bangladesh holds the top place, they said as the country observes the National Jute Day-2018 throughout the country today amid enthusiasm with a view to making jute goods popular among the people.

The government chalked out a weeklong programme including rally, road show, art camp, poetry festival, seminar and symposiums from February 27 to mark the day. On the eve of the day,

President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages greeting the people of the jute sector. In their messages, they hoped that joint efforts of the government and non-government institutions will certainly be able to regain the past glory of jute.

Bangladeshi jute is popular around the globe due to its excellent fibre quality. The country exports about 4.60 lakh tonnes of jute products every year. Dhaka controls 62 per cent of the global jute market and earns Tk 2,012.5 crore by exporting jute products. The total demand for jute products in the international market has been estimated at 7.50 lakh tonnes.

Bangladesh is the lone exporter of raw jute; it fetched Tk. 2,939.5 crore by exporting raw jute and jute products in the last fiscal year.  In recent years, the country has exported 24 lakh bales of raw jute, which is valued at Tk. 977 crore. The officials said some 160,000 people are directly employed in jute mills.

State minister for textiles and jute, Mirza Azam, yesterday said the government took steps to expand the domestic market for jute and to increase its export to augment the jute sector’s contribution to the national economy. “The jute sector has a huge potential for economic development. We’ve already taken steps to expand the internal market, boost export, and root out corruption for increasing this sector’s contribution to the national economy,” he also said. “I’m hopeful that the sector would surpass the success of the textile sector in the next five years,” he added.

The state minister was speaking at a seminar—’The potential of the jute sector for economic growth’—organised by the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF),  with its president Saif Islam Dilal in the chair. The government extended an all-out support to the private sector for diversification of jute products to expand their export, Mirza Alam said, adding that steps had been taken to open exhibition centres across the country for expanding the internal market. About corruption in the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), the state minister said the government took steps to check irregularities in the corporation and helped save losses amounting to Tk. 200 crore annually.

Sources said Bangladesh imported jute seeds from China and India. As much as 90 per cent of the seeds come from India. At present, a total of 240 jute products are manufactured in Bangladesh and exported to different places including European countries.