Demand for jute bags may rise manifold: study

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Demand for jute bags may rise manifold: study

Textiles and Jute Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui speaks at a workshop on Jute and Bangladesh Economy at the BRAC Centre Inn in Dhaka yesterday. Finance Minister AMA Muhith was also present at the event. Photo: STAR

Star Business Report

Demand for jute bags will shoot up if the law on the mandatory use of jute packaging is fully enforced, according to a study released yesterday.

Demand is expected to rise to 84 crore pieces from 90,000 pieces a year.

It will require 539,200 tonnes of raw jute a year, equivalent to about 77 percent of the total production of the fibre, according to the study “Jute and Bangladesh Economy” jointly carried out by the Centre for Policy Dialogue and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.

The study, done in association with Katalyst, focused on jute-mill machinery upgrades for higher productivity. The study findings were revealed at a workshop at the BRAC Centre Inn in Dhaka.

The additional bags will be needed to package agricultural commodities.

The study was based on data collected from 10 selected jute mills of both spinning and composite categories under the authorities and members of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation, Bangladesh Jute Mills Association, and Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association.

Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, CPD senior research fellow, presented the economic part of the study. Dr Nur Al Quddus, a teacher of BUET, shared the technical part of the findings.

“We currently use 90,000 jute bags a year for packaging of agricultural and non-agriculture commodities. If we enforce the mandatory jute packaging law, it will increase consumption of raw jute by 500 percent,” Moazzem said.

The study showed there is ample scope to raise productivity in jute mills.

A proper balance of machines and workers will cut costs by Tk 537,000 in nominal terms for a mill a year, according to the study.

Jute procurement during the harvest season could save up to 28 percent of production costs (in nominal terms), compared to the post-harvest season.

Productivity of the mills could be increased by about 10 percent with proper production balancing, proper maintenance practice and scheduled overhauling of the old machinery, the researcher said.

The government should provide timely financing for jute mills and training and educational programmes for employees, he said.

The survey also made a set of recommendations, including an action plan for jute, research and development and investment for technology upgrade.

“It will not be possible to expand the jute sector with the present level of production,” said Finance Minister AMA Muhith.

“There should rapid changes in the production system,” Muhith said.

There has been no product diversification of jute in line with the changing world, and the technology is yet to be developed, he said.

The minister stressed diversification of jute products along with technological development.

Speaking as special guest at the event, Textiles and Jute Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui said: “We have to stop the traditional use of jute to get the full potential of the sector.”

The government is working on the diversification of jute products. “We are now working on making jute pulp under a pilot programme. We plans to produce around 25,000 tonnes of jute pulp a year,” Siddiqui added.

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