The government has decided to bring imported rice and wheat under the compulsory jute packaging law to even the playing field for domestic producers, an official of the Department of Jute said yesterday.
The move comes after local rice millers voiced concerns that importers would be able to undercut their prices for not needing to use the comparatively dearer jute sacks for packaging.
The decision came at a meeting of the advisory committee on jute chaired by Textile and Jute Minister Md Emaz Uddin Pramanik early this month.
The committee also called for a campaign to get millers and traders on board with jute packaging and recommended that the textiles and jute ministry seeks help from the upazila nirbahi officers, deputy commissioners, superintendent of police and divisional commissioners to implement the law.
In a bid to cushion the export-dependent industry against the vagaries of international trade, the government in 2010 framed the mandatory jute packaging law, which was made official later in October 2013.
All rice millers and traders were instructed to clear their stock of plastic bags by December 31.
At present, only the Directorate General of Food uses jute sacks to pack its purchased rice and wheat. But the rice millers and traders, the main market players, are yet to comply with the rule citing higher costs of jute sacks than polypropylene or plastic bags.
Currently, the annual production of jute sacks stands at 43 crore pieces, most of which are exported, according to Bangladesh Jute Mills Association.