Bangladesh produces one of the best jute in the world. Jute is Eco-friendly and closely linked with the livelihood of farmers as a cash crop. Better and diversified use of jute can eventually contribute to the overall economy as it has the highest scope of value addition, right from raw jute to finished products made out of jute.
Bangladesh exports roughly USD 28.6 billion of RMG a year while major raw material like fiber, a portion of yarn and fabric and accessories and dyeing and finishing chemicals, is sourced from outside and thereby value addition is roughly 20%. This means value addition through garments export is only USD 6 billion.
If we can ensure multiple ways of utilizing jute for domestic use and export its contribution to the overall economy of Bangladesh would be much bigger than now it is. But to attain such impact following are very important: –
- Proper grading of Jute fiber quality:
Authentic grading is the key to success. No compromise can be made with quality and grading. Unfortunately, our grading system is most unreliable though we produce the best jute fiber in the world.
It is most important that “Grade-wise” fiber is segmented properly and strict removal of malpractices that hampers proper grading; like putting water or other impurity to gain short-sighted profit which eventually effects the reliability of grading system.
- Introduction of Better Jute Initiative (BJI):
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has worked very well in cotton in order to ensure demand for sustainable cotton through making the cotton cultivation sustainable to farmers as well giving brands and retailers a traceable and reliable source of sustainable cotton.
As per the BCI Fact Sheet 2017, “In 2016, less than 20% of global cotton production was independently verified as grown using more sustainable practices….” which is very encouraging.
Compared with other sustainable initiatives in cotton BCI is really expanding very fast and meeting the need of sustainable cotton business and ensuring a proper balance in the value chain.
Jute is an Eco-friendly fiber that is bio-degradable and there is real demand for such fiber if we can have a common platform for the jute value chain that would ensure its reliability, quality, traceability and sustainability. We can call the common platform as “Better Jute Initiative (BJI)” and bridge between jute fiber to brands and retailers through addressing the following points and making a proper strategic plan:
- Commitment from the buyer (Brands and Retailers)
- Sustainable Jute fiber production through:
- Use of better agronomy, cultivation practice and fiber preparation that would ensure better quality and productivity of jute fiber with less impact to environment through use of less input (chemical, fertilizer, water, etc.) that would eventually reduce cost and increase profit to farmers.
- Use of scientific technique to ensure authentic fiber grading system. And individual bale identification system to ensure traceability.
- Continual improvement of authenticity of grading system, fiber quality, buyers’ commitment and profitability of farmers.
- Ensure proper traceability in the value chain, step by step. Initially up to fiber and gradually spinning/weaving/dyeing, etc.
Introduction of sustainable initiative to jute fiber would bring an overall impact on the jute through:
- Better agronomy
- Less water use
- Less use of fertilizer, pesticide and chemical.
- Higher production and lower cost.
- Better access to market for jute products
Higher profit to the value chain