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Jute can be the next big industry for Bangladesh

The Ministry of Textiles and Jute observed the National Jute Day 2022 on 6 March across the country with the slogan ‘Sonali Asher Sonar Desh, Paribeshbandab Bangladesh’. Jute Day aimed to highlight the bright potentials of the golden fiber as well as increase the use of jute and jute-based goods in domestic and global markets.

Figure: According to Bangladeshi scientist Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan, jute alone can transform Bangladesh’s entire economic scenario.

Jute, the golden fiber of Bangladesh, is one of the most affordable and ancient fibers in global history. Jute was used as fiber to make rope, twine fabric, macramé hanger, etc. from very ancient times. Poor rural people of India used to wear clothes made of coarser jute during the period of the Mughal emperor Akbar (1542 –1605).

However, jute first entered into the global trade in the mid-18th century while flax and hemp were dominant in the spinning industries in Europe and America. According to the National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, the first jute mill was established at Rishra on the river Hooghly, north of Kolkata in 1855 by George Auckland together with a Bangali partner, Shyamsunder Sen.

Once jute industry was the single largest industry of Bengal under British rule and East Bengal (East Pakistan) during the quarter-century after 1947. After the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent state, the contribution of the industry to the nation’s GDP and in the field of employment declined.

Apart from Adamjee, all other jute mills under the supervision of BJMC had been experiencing losses constantly. According to a report of Prothom Alo, in the last decade, the government jute mills made a profit of 17 crore BDT. On the other hand, the state treasury incurred a huge loss of 10,000 crore BDT to bear the expenses of these jute mills.

As the sector is observing tremendous loss, many initiatives have been taken by the government and non-government entities to revive the sector. Jute Diversification Promotion Centre (JDPC) was established in 2002 for a five-year period to diversify jute goods. However, its activities started on January 1, 2013.

Demand for diversified jute products (DJP) has been increasing all over the world. Remarkably, some recent developments of jute-based products of Bangladesh have grabbed global attention. But the country has no proper preparation for tapping the market as there is no adequate infrastructure.

Recently, Bangladeshi scientist Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan said Textile Today in an interview that if Bangladesh’s total jute production turns into Sonali bag, it can reduce one-third of global polythene usage. Thus, Bangladesh’s lost glory ‘golden fiber’ can create a sustainable alternative to plastic pollution as well as to attain a healthy profit.

Some jute made products 

  • Personal protective equipment
  • Mask
  • Sanitary napkin
  • Jute polybag
  • Shopping bag
  • Garbage bag
  • Thermal bag
  • Rice sack
  • Grocery bag
  • Packaging bag

According to Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan, jute alone can transform Bangladesh’s entire economic scenario. Some experts say that Bangladesh needs to brand jute-made sustainable products to grab more global attention.

However, the sector has four challenges that should be recovered to take the sector next level e.g. lack of technology, skilled manpower, fiscal support, and research-based product diversification.

For proper R&D on jute, the sector should have available sophisticated jute research institute labs and equipment. Also, universities need to include departments for teaching extensive knowledge on jute.

High-tech jute goods have tremendous demand across the globe. The machinery of jute mills in Bangladesh are 50 years old and most of the plants have no facilities for dyeing and lamination which are essential for producing diversified products. Keep remaining these issues alive, the potentiality of jute will not be flourished.

Jute can be the potential game-changer for Bangladesh’s economy. Also, jute can create a great impact ensuring global sustainability. However, without the right focus and government support, the blessing we received from nature will be diminished.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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