Govt lifts ban on raw jute exports
The government has temporarily withdrawn a restriction on exports of low-graded raw jute to tap foreign markets as many farmers and traders sit with stocks due to less demand against huge production.
"We had imposed a restriction on exports earlier because the overall production of jute was low. But the opportunity to export has widened after a good harvest in the immediate past season," said Md Ashraful Moqbul, secretary to the Ministry of Textiles and Jute.
The ministry waived the ban on raw jute -- named as Bangla Tosha Rejection (BTR) jute -- last week in the wake of a fall in prices of jute amid a gradual dip in demand from the public and private jute mills.
At the same time, many farmers and traders were sitting with unsold stocks due to a surge in output last year.
In 2010, growers bagged 83.96 lakh bales of jute, up from 50.89 lakh bales in 2009, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
The traders said a bumper production and problems in retting jute properly due to a low rainfall and water also caused a fall in the quality and prices.
Shaikh Abdul Mannan, owner of Pragati Jute Supply, said the prices of low quality raw jute fell to Tk 1,300 per maund (40 kg) now from Tk 1,700 in November-December last year.
However, the extent of fall in prices of quality jute is not much, he said.
The traders said farmers in southwestern regions -- Jessore and Kushtia -- produce the low-grade BTR jute.
Exporters said they used to export raw BTR jute to China, Pakistan and India before the imposition of the ban in February last year.
Mannan said the latest withdrawal of the ban may not bring about benefit for the farmers and help rebound the prices.
"Exports have been relaxed for a temporary period. But demands among the buyers are not created in a day. It takes time," he said.
Abdus Sobhan Sharif, vice chairman of Bangladesh Jute Association, a body of raw jute traders, said the withdrawal of the ban might encourage foreign buyers to place orders for low-grade jute, used for making bags and sacks.
"Importers will need to spend less to buy raw jute," said Sharif, also the owner of Sharif Jute Trading Ltd.