Govt laxity, major hurdle in growth of jute sector

October 17, 2008 - Bangladesh

Jute, one of the most important pillars for the economy of Bangladesh, is trying hard to regain its grandeur. In an effort to take the industry to the zenith, local scientists are developing various jute products.

However, Government is not paying proper heed to promote and market these commercially potent products. So much so that usage of common products like sacks are not encouraged in a proper manner and the utilization of jute-based geotextile is almost nil.

In an exclusive interview with Fibre2fashion, Dewan Sayeedul Hassan, Media & Information Officer, International Jute Study Group (IJSG), says, "Jute has been treated as a neglected sector due to its ‘image/perception’ problem. It is perceived as ‘gunny bags’ and it’s over reliance on packaging has given jute this inaccurate identity in the market.

"Even lack of consumer awareness, steady/adequate supply of jute products as per consumers’ need, aggressive promotional activities focusing on environmental aspects of jute; absence of appropriate policies by Government and adequate support/rational incentives to private sectors; Lack of capacity building of manufacturing industries are the factors responsible for jute not getting proper market in spite of huge commercial potential.”

Further Mr Hassan stated, “Even the marketing strategy is quite erroneous in Bangladesh. Absence of up to date market information; lack of ensured supply chain; greater emphasis on production and lack of professional marketing; lack of diverse marketing strategy for diversified and traditional products also joins hand in poor marketing strategy.”

“The best possible way to market the products developed by local scientists are, transfer of technology through proper dissemination along with techno-economic feasibility to the commercial manufacturing enterprises; enhancing interest of large manufacturers in jute, increasing facilitating role (incentives) of the Government; creating awareness and explore market locally and abroad”, suggests the Media and Information Officer.

In order to promote and market jute globally, Government must take certain steps. Proper coordination and communication between local export promotion unit and the trade unit of missions abroad; policy decision - mandatory use of jute products like jute geo-textiles locally and popularize their use internationally; Identification of major jute products and publicizing greater usages, and organizing seminars or workshops, fairs/exhibitions and more promotional campaigns to celebrate International Year of Natural Fibres 2009 are the best possible ways for promotion of jute.

Biotechnology can be useful in developing hard paper from a jute plant. The IJSG has conducted/completed a project entitled ‘Biotechnological application of enzymes for making paper pulp from green jute/kenaf (the whole plant)’ which has come to some very clear conclusions. It is technically possible to make both brown and white paper of acceptable commercial quality from whole jute/kenaf plants. The use of enzymes would result in reduction in the consumption of chemicals and power while promoting eco-friendly technologies. Low fibre quality jute is suitable for making pulp and paper.