Published in Dhaka Tribune on Sunday, 6 March 2016
Diversification needed to revive jute exports
Ibrahim Hossain Ovi
Diversification of jute products could help Bangladesh grab the foreign market and enter the new era of the country’s golden fibre, said trade analysts.
“To revive the country’s jute sector, products need to be diversified with innovation taking market demand into consideration,” said Khondaker Golam Moazzem, additional research director at the local think thank Centre for Policy Dialogue.
He stressed the need to participation of manufacturers in the expositions and to conduct research for diversification of the products as consumers were changing their choice every day.
Environmental concenrns have also brought a change in the consumers’ choice of products. They are now increasingly preferring more green products.
Demands of gardening products, shopping bags, geo-textile, pulp and paper, home textiles, floor covering and non-woven textiles are on the rise.
Many developed countries are going to replace the use of plastic goods with environment-friendly products.
Bangladesh government has already made jute sacks use mandatory for major crops.
Md Rashedul Karim Munna, convenor of Bangladesh Diversified Jute Products Manufacturers and Exporters Association, also laid emphasis on products diversification as it would add value to the goods.
“We are getting less value from jute exports. But the diversified products can increase value of the exports by 10 times,” he said.
Bangladesh earns $600m exporting one tonne jute, which will rise to $1,200 if it is yarn, he said. “Manufacturers can earn $1,500-$1800 exporting sacks and bags from one tonne of jute. On the other hand, diversified products can earn $3,000-$10,000 with one tonne of jute depending on the quality and type.”
“If we want to increase export earnings from the jute and jute goods, there is no alternative but to go for product diversification as the demand for such products is increasing every day,” said Munna.
According to Export Promotion Bureau data, in the first seven months of the current fiscal year, Bangladesh earned $494.50m exporting jute and jute goods. Of the total amount, $83.43m came from raw jute, $301.38m from yarn and $72.66m from sacks and bags export.