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Jute Corporation plans to join hands with Patanjali
Aug '17
In an indication of its makeover, the Jute Corporation of India (JCI) is planning to join hands with Patanjali Ayurved for branding and promotion of jute products like mini shopping bags and other fashion items. Historically, the state-controlled JCI has been tasked with undertaking minimum support price (MSP) operations of raw jute, an agency report said.

According to the report, JCI’s chairman-cum-managing director, K V R Murthy, visited the Patanjali headquarters at Haridwar to discuss the tie-up. The issue had also come up in a meeting of the Union textiles ministry in which it was decided to market value-added and fashionable jute products under the ‘Sonali’ brand.

The collaboration with Patanjali, one of the fastest-growing FMCG brands, is expected to bring more brand visibility for jute products and help expand sales. The jute industry depends on government purchases which has limited its scope for diversification. It has also eroded competitiveness of the industry.

The report said if the deal with Patanjali is finalised, the JCI plans to introduce mini shopping bags at Patanjali stores in metro cities. The market for diversified, value-added jute products is estimated at Rs 400 crore. It is growing 20 per cent year-on-year.

Sonali is a one-stop solution for all jute diversified products as well as other biodegradable materials in Kolkata. It showcases the handicrafts of remotely located marginal artisans, many of whom are women, having no other regular means of livelihood and who are not able to sell their products otherwise. The shop sells range products like traditional shopping bags, contemporary styled and fashioned bags for different end usage like school bags, beach bags, wine bags, water bottle carrying bags, kids bags, designer ladies bags and purses, floor mats, and carpets.

The report quoted an industry source as saying, “Over the years, the price support operations by the JCI have lost significance as market prices of raw jute have been consistently ruling below the MSP. Jute cultivators are being forced to go for distress sale due to this factor. With the JCI’s core role diminished, there is a need for diversification.”

The declining role of the JCI in MSP operations of raw jute was discussed at the meeting of the textiles ministry. During 2016-17, raw jute prices dropped to Rs 3,000-4,000 a tonne when the MSP was Rs 32,000 a tonne. Farmers suffered as the JCI could manage to procure only a measly 0.6 per cent (or 56,000 bales) of 9.2 million jute bales produced. Even though the raw jute MSP has been hiked to Rs 35,000 a tonne for FY18, market prices of the fibre crop are still ruling Rs 3000-4000 below the MSP. Raw jute prices are linked to prices of sacking bags used in government procurement to pack food grains and sugar, according to the report. (SV)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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