Implement Jute Packaging Act to offset sluggish exports
Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of Jute Commission, attends an event on "Revisit the roadmap for jute" organised by the International Jute Study Group at its office in Dhaka yesterday. Md Kamal Uddin, director general of Bangladesh Jute Research Institute, was also present. Photo:Star
The government should implement the Jute Packaging Act immediately to create internal demand for jute products, analysts said.
“Export demand for jute goods has plummeted following the depreciation of the Indian rupee and a crisis across the Middle East,” said Kamran T Rahman, former chairman of Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA).
Last week, the rupee slumped to a record low of 68.75 to the dollar to cap a 25 percent fall in value since the start of the year, while taka has appreciated around 15-20 percent over the last one year, he said.
“We are losing the competitiveness over the India exporters, so to offset the sluggish demand we need to urgently implement the law,” he said at a discussion styled “Revisit the Roadmap for Jute”, organised by International Jute Study Group at its office in Dhaka.
The government in June framed new rules to enforce the compulsory use of jute sacks to pack food grains and other items, although the law was passed in October 2010.
“It is our bad luck that the law has still not been implemented,” said Md Kamal Uddin, director general of Bangladesh Jute Research Institute.
Jute is a bio-degradable and environment-friendly product, so Bangladesh as a leading producer should encourage its use.
Mangal Chandra Chanda, project director of "high-yield jute and its seeds production and retting" under the jute ministry, said farmers are not getting adequate jute seeds in country, which is hampering cultivation of the crop.
At present, the country supplies around 2,000 tonnes of jute seeds against the annual demand of nearly 4,500 tonnes, he added.
Fazlul Haque Hanna, representative of the National Jute Farmer Association, urged the government to ensure fair prices for their produce by setting a minimum price.
“Jute has a bright prospect due to its environment friendliness, and time has come to take joint efforts to promote the jute sector,” Humayun Khaled, chairman of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), said, while urging the BJMA to organise fairs for jute goods to create domestic demand.
Bhupendra Singh, secretary general of International Jute Study Group, said decoding of the genome sequence of local variety of jute by Bangladeshi scientists is a great achievement for the world, while calling for an action plan so that the breakthrough can be put to use.
He also recommended the state-owned BJMC to initiate contract farming scheme on a test basis as it will help jute farmers get a fair price for their produce.
Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of Jute Commission, called for storage facilities and easy loan support for jute cultivators.