Jute is not considered a ‘golden fiber’ in Khulna. Although a major cash comes from jute. Due to unfavorable weather, low production and lack of government support have forced many farmers to turn away from the crop in the past couple of years in the country’s southwestern district.
As jute is a biodegradable product that is used for making carpets, ropes, bags, etc. The utilization of jute products as a green alternative to plastics to help save the environment.
As India and Pakistan are Bangladesh’s two largest markets for raw jute exports. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government seeks to diversify exports to help the country in Covid-induced economic crisis. According to jute farmers India, Pakistan and China, will be affected by this.
Farmers say cultivating jute is backbreaking work as the crop takes eight to 10 months to mature. And once the crop is ready, it has to be cut and soaked in water. Subsequently, jute has to be separated, dried, and pressed into bales.
“Last year, Khulna farmers suffered huge crop loss due to Cyclone Amphan and consequent flooding. Also, there was no government support as such. This year, jute production has been hit in the district and adjoining areas due to hostile weather. So, it will not be possible for us to export the desired quantity of raw jute to India, Pakistan and China,” says a farmer.
According to UNB Khulna’s Daulatpur through the Mongla seaport has already halved this year as compared to 2020. Not only in Khulna, jute production has also been hit as well as Faridpur, Rangpur, Jashore and Satkhira districts.
According to sources in the Khulna jute department, some 1,75,200 bales worth Tk 18.39 crore were exported in the last fiscal. But in the first nine months only 69,000 bales of jute worth Tk 84.92 crore have been exported. Getting frustrated many have shunned jute farming this year.
In Bangladesh Akunji Brothers, Roshni Kabir, SR Jute, Namfa Trade Int, Yasin Brothers, Mamun Jute, Ripon Enterprise and Rifat Enterprise are some of the leading jute export firms.
Assistant Director of the department of jute, Sirajul Islam, admits that jute exports have slumped over the past two-three years. “However, in the past three decades, there has been no such crisis in Daulatpur at least,” he says.
Daulatpur jute exporter Sheikh Shahidul Islam says, “The jute mills within the eastern Indian state of West Bengal depend upon raw jute from Bangladesh. And he added that India buys the jute that’s produced only within the Faridpur region. Low production will batter exports.”