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Government scraps project to produce viscose from jute

Despite having enormous opportunity in the domestic market, the Bangladesh government has discarded its plan to produce viscose from jute to reduce dependency on imports.

Bangladesh-scraps-viscose-jute
Figure 1: Bangladesh government has discarded its plan to produce viscose from jute to reduce dependency on imports.

Due to the rising demands of manmade fiber products, the uses of viscose are increasing very fast in the global fashion industry.

As the second largest exporters of apparel goods, Bangladeshi spin producers are moving towards this as the global buyers are asking for products made of manmade fiber.

Considering the demands on rise and to reduce dependence on import of yarns, Bangladesh Government has announced that it will make viscose fiber from jute in 2018.

However, the project had been left as the research finding suggested that it is not viable to produce viscose from jute and it would not be commercially profitable.

Saikat Chnadra Halder, Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Textiles & Jute confirmed the Textile Today about the project discard.

However, Halder could not explain why it was discarded.

The Bangladesh government wanted to make viscose fibre from jute with the help of Chinese technology to make yarn in the state-owned jute mills.

To this end, Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) and China Textile Industrial Corporation for Foreign Economy and Technical Co-operation signed an agreement.

“Government has assigned a foreign research farm to study the prospects and possibility of viscose production and it did so. As per the findings of the study, the production of viscose is not commercially viable,” said another high official of the Textile Ministry, who preferred not to be named.

In producing viscose, it needs 40% jute and rest 60% ingredient should come from bamboo or woods, which is not cost effective. As a result, the government decided to discard the projects, he added.

Demands of viscose on rise

With the rapid change in fashion trend, the demands of viscose is increasing very fast as the brands and  buyers are gradually moving towards apparel goods made of artificial fibre.

According to Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), in the last five year import of MMFs such as polyester staple, viscose and tencel has seen a 48% rise to 156,784 tons in 2019, which was 105,946 tons in 2015.

Import of viscose has seen the highest rise among the MMFs.  In 2019, Bangladesh imported 53,289 tons, up by 32.30%, which was 40,278 tons in the previous year.

During January –September period of 2020, import of viscose stood at 53,474 tons, which means the demands are rising very sharply.

Bangladesh-scenario-viscose-import
Figure 2: Recent scenario of viscose import.

The number of textile mills using manmade fibre also increased. As per the data, some 70 mills imported viscose staple fibre, 15 mills tencel fibre and 55 mills polyester fibre last year.

“The demands of artificial fiber especially made of viscose are increasing as the global buyers are moving towards trendy fashion items. As a result, manufacturers are importing viscose to meet the demands,” said Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) Secretary Mansur Ahmed.

On the other hand, the number of mils using viscose is also increasing, he added.

Industry people think as there is less scope to grow in cotton based products, they are going for products with the artificial fiber to grow further.

“Bangladesh has already performed well in cotton-based products and the growth is very significant. Right now there is huge scope for Bangladesh to grow in products, which are made of manmade fiber,” said BTMA President Md Ali Khokon.

In the present context and global fashion trend, it is high time to move to produce non-cotton products, said Khokon.

However, the textile industry needs more investment for establishing such a modern technology based textile mill, said the business leader.

He also said joint venture and foreign direct investment could be great tool in this regards.

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