To say that the Jute Industry, even today, is vital to Bangladesh’s economy and middle income status aspirations, is an understatement indeed. Affecting the livelihood of over 40 million people, directly or indirectly, the once great industry has slowly dwindled towards non-existence. However, considering jute’s versatility and the golden fiber’s undoubted potential, Traidcraft Exchange, a British charity organisation and Tarango banded together and organised the Jute Lifestyle Expo’13 from 10 to12 May, with the aim of promoting the use of jute and reviving the industry once again.
Renowned designer Chandra Shekhar Shaha guided 30 Bangladeshi and 10 Indian SMEs, which focused on producing jute diversified products, into coming up with ideas, whilst providing logistical support in this regard. The firms together generated around 350 ideas, which resulted in 150 concepts and a total of 830 products, all of which were displayed at the Jute Lifestyle Expo’13.
With jute’s environmental friendly nature already known, this Expo helped to show the versatile side of the fibre, with jute products ranging from bags, purses, jewellery, decorative pieces to cushion covers, envelopes and photo frames.
“I always knew that jute is an extremely useful fibre, but even I had no idea that it could be used for so many things,” Tousif Farhan, a 23-year old visitor to the exhibition said.
At the opening ceremony of the Expo, S. K. Sur Chowdhury, the Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank, was present as Chief Guest and Khondaker Mokhlesur Rahman, Executive Director of Jute Diversification Promotion Centre (JDPC), was also present as special guest. Representatives from many government organisations attended the ceremony along with numerous stakeholders.
Bangladesh, being the second largest producer of jute, already boasts a local market of 153 million and with the world turning towards greener, more eco-friendly solutions, also has the capability of enhancing its balance of trade.
The opportunity present can be extremely rewarding, if proper steps are taken to availing it. The Jute Lifestyle Expo’13, organised under the project, ‘Jute: An Eco-Friendly Alternative for a Sustainable Future’, co-funded by the European Commission and Traidcraft, may just have shown a glimpse of the path ahead. The opening ceremony was held at Rabindra Sarabar, Dhanmondi, Dhaka.