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Mini jute mills growing in Nilphamari district


NILPHAMARI, Sept 25: Six Jute mills of Syedpur created a ray of hope for the industry-deprived inhabitants of Nilphamari district. The mini entrepreneurs are playing a pioneering role among the future entrepreneurs of the district. The mills have also created employment opportunities for the local people. According to sources these entrepreneurs bought several dozens of looms during the Adamjee Jute Mill auction to set up small jute sacking factories.


The six jute mills include Progoti Agro Based Mill of Utpalendu Deb, Poddar Agro Based Mill of Gokul Poddar ND Jute Mill, Eco Jute Mill, Ranu Agro Industry Ltd. and Selim Jute Mill. At present more then 2000 workers are working in these mills.


The main advantage of these mills lies in their small size and management as which their overhead expenditure is low. Encouraged by the success of these mills some prospective entrepreneurs comprising individuals, joint venture and small joint stock companies are trying to establish new ones of these kinds of mills in the district.



The Financial Express




Co-optex now says JUTE!


Next time you walk into a Co-optex store, you might just find yourself staring at an exquisite array of jute products as part of the Navaratri Jute Fair, organised by the South India Jute Association. Speaking at the inauguration of the fair on Tuesday in Chennai, Minister for Handloom and Textiles Dr Sundararaj said that the government would take all steps to include jute products in the Co-optex showrooms.


The government-operated garment store has an array of exqusite jute products | Albin Mathew


This move would entail marketing and sale of jute products through all its showrooms spread across the country, giving a major boost for small scale jute entrepreneurs. The Minister asked the South India Jute Association to submit a representation for the same and said that the government would take all steps to help give jute the necessary visibility through Co-optex.


The fair opened with a range of products. A jute painting of ‘The Last Supper’ was among the major attractions of the exhibition. “We first do a digital painting and then put it on a jute base. The product has been of great demand, especially in the overseas market,” said Mahalakshmi Sathian of Chiccraft. The company has also been doing jute paintings on various Indian themes like Ganesha paintings and has even ventured into jute portrait paintings.


Juke Organic, another start-up that was featured at the fair, had come up with little organic bags that can be used to replace plastic bags to keep food products in the fridge.  “Innovation is the key. You need to have an ear for the demands of the customer. For instance, when we asked people why they used so much plastic, a majority of them said it was for storing vegetables and fruits in the fridge. That’s how we came up with the idea,” said one of the founders.


A range of utility products including jute clocks, jute mirrors, jute storage bags, jute ornaments, pencil stands and a wide variety of fashion bags and clutches were key attractions. One of the major highlights was the jute laptop bag, which has been ordered in bulk by major companies and universities.


Speaking at the event, principal secretary of the Handlooms, Handicrafts, Textiles and Khadi Department, Harmander Singh, said that innovation and assurance of quality was the key for the growth of the industry. He asked the entrepreneurs to make use of all the schemes that the government had put forward for the promotion of the industry.



The New India Express




Railway job-for-land policy scrapped



HOOGHLY: The railways have stopped its job-for-land policy due to lack of employment options, Union minister of state for railways Adhir Chowdhury said on Sunday in Hooghly. He was there to flag off a pilot project in which geotextile will be used to strengthen the ground along the tracks - a first in India.


"Earlier, the railways had a policy where one would be provided with job in exchange for land. But we have been unable to maintain this as providing employment is proving to be too difficult," the Congress MP said. When asked why work was not being done on the proposed rail project at Dankuni-Furfura Sharif, he cited trouble with land acquisition. He also accused the Mamata Banerjee government of not cooperating in the East-West Metro project.


Chowdhury announced the use of jute technology to boost train speed on the Dankuni-Balighat and Dankuni-Baltikuri routes. "Between the rocks and the ground, a sheet of jute will be laid," he explained. Subrata Gupta, commissioner of Jute Corporation of India (JCI), said the organization and railways have a deal where JCI will supply jute.


He expressed hope that jute farmers will have a better market in Murshidabad, Hooghly and Nadia, thanks to this project. "If the state government uses jute technology for river embankment or to build roads, it will be hugely beneficial. The jute technology will boost travel speed especially where ground is soft along the tracks," Gupta said.


The minister also visited a diesel locomotive and electric locomotive factory at Dankuni. On being asked by reporters about a Trinamool MP demanding a CBI probe into the Saradha scam, he retorted that the "West Bengal government as a whole should be investigated by the agency". "There is no democracy in Bengal, but autocracy," he said.



The New India Express




Jute geo-textiles to protect railway tracks


The problem of tracks getting washed away because of rain, brimming natural basins, floods and coastal disturbances may be a thing of the past if the Railways’ new experiment of using jute to hold soil together succeeds.


The Eastern Railways has undertaken a pioneering exercise to give a boost to the sagging jute industry.


Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury will, on Sunday, kick-start rehabilitation work on tracks at two sections under the Howrah Division using the new jute geo-textile technique, which is considered a superior method to the one in use currently.


He will inaugurate the works on the 6.61-km Bultikuri-Dankuni section and the 4.67-km Balighat-Dankuni section under the Howrah Division in West Bengal.

‘Encouraging results’


The Railways intend to use jute geo-synthetics not only as a blanketing layer on the formation of the tracks, but along the slopes of the formation for arresting erosion of soil.



The cabala news





TABLE-Bangladesh jute report - Sept 23




(One bale = 180 kg) (Taka per bale)

Ready Position (in taka) Bangla white special (BW special) 12,800 Bangla white A (BWA) 12,500 Bangla white B (BWB) 11,600 Bangla white C (BWC) 10,100 Bangla white D (BWD) 9,650 Bangla white E (BWE) 9,200 Bangla tossa special (BTS) 13,100 Bangla tossa A (BTA) 13,800 Bangla tossa B (BTB) 11,900 Bangla tossa C (BTC) 10,400 Bangla tossa D (BTD) 9,950 Bangla tossa E (BTE) 9,500


WRS/TRS, HABIJABI, CUT ROPES Bangla white rejection (BWR) 8,250 Bangla white habijabi (BWH) 6,300 Bangla tossa rejection (BTR) 8,500 Bangla tossa habijabi (BTH) 6,300


CUTTINGS Bangla white cuttings A (BWCA) 5,800 Bangla white cuttings B (BWCB) 5,600 Bangla tossa cuttings A (BTCA) 6,100 Bangla tossa cuttings B (BTCB) 5,900

MESHTA Meshta special 12,800 Meshta A 12,500 Meshta B 11,600 Meshta C 10,100 Special meshta cuttings 5,800 Ordinary meshta cuttings 5,600 Meshta- SMR 8,000


STATE OF THE MARKET--REMARKS Quality - good Condition - fair Narayanganj imports - About 10,000 Qntl. Daulatpur imports - About 20,000 Qntl. Market trend - As usual

NOTE Raw jute exports during 2012-2013 (01.07.2012 to 31.03.2013) = 2.05 million bales Value 14.36 billion taka ($1 = 77.75 taka) Source: Bangladesh Jute Association, Dhaka +880-2-9552916, Narayanganj +880-2-7630904



The cabala news




North East Design Fest ended with a grand success in Delhi


Amit Kumar

North East Design Fest ended with a grand success in Delhi

The four day mega event entertained the spectators with hosts of Fashion shows, Cultural program and Exhibitions of Handloom, Handicrafts, Jute, MSME sector of the North East Region and attracted a huge number of footfalls making it huge success.


The cultural extravaganza witnessed twelve fashion shows, which included showcase of collections by eminent designers Meghna Rai Medhi, Aji Semy Rengma, Mona Pali, Boney Darang, Wede Khape, Agnimitra Paul, Vianney Basiedor Nongrum, Rinzing Choden Bhutia, Gaurang Shah, Melody Runremsangi, Charlee Lalthlenmawia and Plabita Gogoi.

Moreover, ramp walk by Bollywood stars Minisha Lamba, Sonal Chauhan with others for supporting and expressing their solidarity to the talents of North East added more glamour to the show


The concept behind the North East Design Fest was to create an interaction of ideas, provide an international standard marketing forum and a unique platform to showcase NE India?s textiles and artisans who have come not only with their handlooms, but also- Jute, Khadi, Coirboard, Assam Silk and handicrafts as well.


Famous rock band groups Featherhead, (MOD) Minute of Decay, Towering Faith performed folk & rock fusion in the four day festival provided absolute delight to the spectators.


North East Region of the country with the eight beautiful, exotic and to an extent unexplored states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Sikkim have a strong history of its traditional textiles and handicrafts which forms an integral element of its socio- economic structure of the societies.


The festival acts as a curtain raiser to showcase the talents of Designers, Performing artists, Artisans, Craftsmen, Weavers coming from different parts of the versatile North East region. People of the capital got an opportunity to interact with this wonderful talented young visionaries and this would create a bridge of understanding and mutual growth of thought process between NER and mainstream. North East Design Fest was inaugurated by Srimati Pranatee Phukan, Minister of Handloom and Textiles Government of Assam.


Mr Vikram Rai Medhi, Event Director said, "Eighty number of stalls had been erected at Select CITYWALK which showcased and created a mini North East for cross section of the society of Delhi and this created an element of positive awareness and curiosity of our region which will thereby also play a role in the development in the Tourism sector. We thank all culture loving people of Delhi and the media to wholeheartedly supported this humble and sincere effort closer to the mainstream."


The festival was presented by Ministry of Textiles with the support of Ministry of MSME, Ministry of Home Affairs - departments of Handloom and Textiles of govt. of Assam and govt. of Arunachal Pradesh in association with Select CITYWALK.



The Hindu





Variety from Odisha



A colourful range of artefacts and textiles beckons visitors to a mela on at Valluvar Kottam in the city


Colourful handcrafted products vie for attention at the Odisha Grameen Mela which brings together rural artisans from the eastern part of India. The display includes grass mats, silver filigree jewellery, jute chappals, papier-m‚chť toys, office organisers and textiles. The mela is all about the use of traditional craft skills to create contemporary lifestyle products. Biswajit Saha from Dhaka presents the fabled Dhakai muslin Jamdaani sari. The jute-muslin saris make a classic statement with their delicate stripes. The pallus are embellished with huge jute and gold kairis. Also part of Saha’s collection, are the less expensive Tangails. Gift products abound at the mela. Purna Chandra Sahu’s evocative collection of antique brass artefacts includes bullock cart ploughs rice and oil measures in interesting shapes, coin boxes with jaali work and betel cutters. His Saura paintings on canvas are another attraction. Purna Chandra Mohapatra from Puri gives silver filigree jewellery a contemporary twist. The range includes pendants, bangles, brooches and hair pins, besides mother-of-pearl jewellery and kumkum boxes.


Among the eco-friendly craft objects on display are Madhukati grass runners, table and floor mats and wall hangings. Madhubani art attracts in the form of cloth and wall hangings, papier-m‚chť toys and artefacts. Rahul Sengupta’s jute chappals with kantha and zari work appeal. Trilochan Mahapatra’s Patachitra paintings stand out for their detailing.


The Odisha Grameen Mela is on till September 25 at Valluvar Kottam Hall, Nungambakkam High Road.




The Daily Star






Jute sacks made compulsory for rice packaging


Millers warn of rice price spiral for higher packaging costs

Sohel Parvez


The government has taken the decision to make jute sacks mandatory for rice packaging in a bid to increase the use of the eco-friendly product and prop up the struggling jute industry.

The decision, taken early this month by an advisory panel of the textiles and jute ministry, is also applicable to fertilisers: 50 percent of the fertilisers available in the market—be it locally-produced or imported—will have to come in jute bags.


“We will issue a gazette soon. The rice millers and traders will then have to ensure the full use of jute sacks for packaging,” Jute Secretary Ashraful Moqbul told The Daily Star. The rice millers and traders, however, would be given a timeframe to finish their existing stock of synthetic bags.

The decision comes at a time when the export-dependent jute industry is going through tough times due to the depreciation of the Indian rupee and crisis in the Middle East.

The reason for the sector’s high dependency on export markets is low domestic demand, due to the custom of using polypropylene or plastic products for packaging, industry insiders said. Three-fourths of domestic production of jute is exported in raw and processed forms, they added.

Export receipts from jute and jute goods, now the second biggest after readymade garments, dropped 15 percent year-on-year to $130 million in the July-August period of fiscal 2012-13, and according to Export Promotion Bureau.Moqbul expects the government decision would prop up the jute industry.


s at 43 crore pieces, most of which are mainly exported, according to Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA). At present, only the Directorate General of Food uses jute sacks to pack its procurement of rice and wheat. But the rice millers and traders, the main market players, do not use the environmentally friendly product citing higher prices than polypropylene bags. The compulsory packaging of food grains, sugar and fertiliser will create demand for 35 crore pieces, said BJMA Secretary Abdul Barik Khan. Asked, Layek Ali, convenor of Bangladesh Auto Major and Husking Mill Owners Association, said the compulsory packaging of jute sacks will increase their costs, which would, in turn, be passed on to consumers.


“We have no reservations about using jute sacks, but the government should be aware that prices of rice will increase for higher packaging costs,” he said, adding that the prices may increase by up to Tk 2 per kg. Ali is also sceptical of the jute mills’ capacity to supply the sacks timely and in line with the market demand. “The government should enforce the law gradually and be well aware of the supply and demand situation before enforcement. Otherwise, problems may arise in the supply chain,” he said.



The Daily Star





Caird Hall concert supports effort to restore Scottish jute workers’ Indian resting place


Efforts to restore the Scottish cemetery in Kolkata where many former jute workers found their final resting place have received a boost from a charity concert.The Dundee Strathspey and Reel Society (SRS) teamed up with their Fife counterparts earlier this year for the concert in the Caird Hall.


The group has now presented a cheque for more than £1,300 to the Kolkata Scottish Heritage Trust. Elspeth Reid from the Dundee SRS, which is in its 40th year, said: “We were approached by the Fife society. They asked if we could do a concert together so we decided to have it in the Caird Hall, who were more than happy to get involved.”


Elspeth said the project to restore the cemetery was important to the people of Dundee.“It is where expats from Dundee who went there to work in the jute industry are buried and it has been vandalised and neglected for some years,” she added.


The graveyard has also fallen prey to the climate in Kolkata. Ian Stein of Kolkata Scottish Heritage Trust said: “It causes very rapid growth of vegetation making it difficult to control even with modern chemicals and this, together with monsoon rains, undermines tombs and strips plaster from memorials.


“The monsoon also restricts the period during which restoration work can take place. It is remarkable how much has been achieved in the year since architectural services were transferred to Kolkata.”The Strathspey and Reel Society presented the cheque to Lord Charles Bruce, chairman of the trust. He said: “The project’s into its fifth year. We had some quite important successes in the last 12 months.


“We’ve restored the 19th century gate house and it’s now on the tourist trail for Kolkata and we are now getting visitors. The other important success was 11 ledgers which were discovered and we have had them restored.”


The ledgers contain more than 2,500 entries of people who were born in Scotland and died in India. “It’s a really important record of people who were born in Scotland and emigrated,” Lord Bruce said. “I think it’s a kind of unknown part of Dundee’s history.

“Most of the jute history is in Dundee but it is the corresponding importance in Kolkata which is less known.”


He said similar textile mills to the ones synonymous with Dundee are still to be found in Kolkata, many of which use the original machinery.


“What has been lost were the individual stories of people who were trained in the jute trade in Dundee and emigrated because they thought they would have a better life.


“There are over two million burials in South Asia from that era. There are also many important stories.”The fundraising concert took place in May and was compered by Jimmy Spankie.


 Daphne Barbieri produced a film and picture show and Bashabi Fraser, who is from Kolkata, has written a book, From The Ganges To The Tay. Sheena Thomson brought along some of her jute products to sell at the concert.



The Courier



Lifting jute out of external shocks


Rahman Jahangir


Jute, the golden fibre of Bangladesh, has once again hit the headlines of the media. This time because it faces a sluggish global market due to recession as well as governance problems in some Arab countries. The hostile environment in the world market has spilled over to the grassroots in Bangladesh: growers are not getting their due as exports of jute and jute goods have fallen. As reports from different parts of the country have it, the jute cultivators are not getting prices above their cost of production.

The gloom is very much real and worrisome. This is because nearly 50 million people across Bangladesh are directly or indirectly involved in jute cultivation and manufacturing of jute goods. Over 35 million farmers cultivate jute while 0.3 million skilled workers work in jute manufacturing process. Besides, about 0.2 million people are directly engaged in trading of jute, jute goods, transportation and other related business and 0.1 million are engaged in jute trade, and a large number of people provide other related services. Also, jute plants consume carbon dioxide -- the main cause of the greenhouse effect.

The jute sector contributes about five per cent to Bangladesh's gross domestic product (GDP) and contribution of jute and jute manufacturing to the national employment is about l0 to l5 per cent.

The crisis jute is facing today surfaced just at a time when our scientists have given us a ray of hope. Having already unravelled the genome for 'Tosha' jute, they have sequenced the DNA of the traditional variety of jute. The sequencing is so revolutionary that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina felt excited to disclose this in a hurriedly called news conference and to introduce Dr Maqsudul Alam who led the painstaking but secretive research. The decoding will enable Bangladesh to own all the genetic documents of the natural fibre which has reappeared as a critical resource in the campaign for environmental friendliness. This gene sequencing will help improve the fibre length and quality, including colours and strength; and develop high-yielding, saline soil-and pest-tolerant jute varieties through genetic engineering.


The situation jute is in today is purely man-made. The authorities have failed to diversify uses of the golden fibre in order to meet occasional shocks it faces. Bangladesh has miserably failed to take advantage of global awareness of bad effects of artificial fibres. As more countries are making efforts to mitigate the climate change fallout, they are opting for use of jute goods more because these are bio-degradable and environment-friendly. Experts say jute should not be treated as a minor sector. Bangladesh should immediately go for diversifying the country's export basket by reviving the jute industry.

Reports in the global media say annual world demand for shopping bags is 500 billion pieces. Leading food retailers Tesco, Co-operative Group, Sainsbury's, Morrisons and John Lewis-Waitrose Partnership are expanding grocery convenience formats. In the UK alone, the grocery market was worth $150.8 billon in 2010. By 2014, IGD (a research organisation dedicated to the development of the food and grocery industry) predicts that the Chinese grocery market will be worth about $1.046 trillion at today's rates, compared to a forecast about US market value of $1.024 trillion.


Experts have projected demand for natural, biodegradable bags to gradually increase as more and more chain shops around the world phase out the use of polythene bags and use bio-friendly natural fibre bags instead. Thus the potential market for jute shopping bags is enormous.


There is an immense scope for more shipments over the coming years as some European countries are set to ban polythene bags. So far, demand has well exceeded estimates. However, there are problems, too, for the Bangladesh exporters. For instance, jute fibre and ultimately jute fabric prices are not stable and when compared to cotton fabric, the price of the jute fabric is high. This is because of the weight of the fabric, which is heavier than cotton fabric.


Moreover, the supporting processes such as wet process and lamination have not expanded for the jute sector and thus the cost of such processes remain high. Also a lack of adequate and/or skilled workforce hampers the sector. To solve such problems, technological improvements are a must. If the fabric could be made lighter and softer, customers would feel more comfortable in using these bags and re-use could increase. Up-gradation in additional or supporting processes could make these processes cheaper and thus aid in making the final price of the bag less expensive. Moreover, improving human resources and creating a skilled workforce is essential if this industry is to take advantage of the growing global demand.

Assistance should be provided for raw material improvements and cost effectiveness (such as reducing taxes for import of modern machines). The Jute Commission's preliminary report suggested that the government declare the jute sector an agro-based industry, having provisions of fiscal support and facilities, as given to other existing agro-based industries in the country. This suggestion should be implemented as soon as possible. This will encourage farmers to grow more jute and thus stabilise jute price to some extent. The national jute policy should also be finalised soon.

The demand for jute goods, especially of shopping bags, is increasing both in the domestic and international markets. The future of the jute industry is bright.


The jute sector had a glorious past in the 1960s-1970s, but began losing its glory due to the wrong policies pursued by the past governments. But, the good news is that the present government has now laid emphasis on the jute sector by establishing the Jute Commission and putting in place the Mandatory Jute Packaging Act 2010.


According to the law, manufacturers have to use packaging materials made of jute fibre for up to 75 per cent of products such as rice, paddy, wheat, sugar, seeds, fertilisers and saplings. But the hassle remained due to poor implementation of the mandatory packaging law, unavailability of quality raw material, and delivery of jute fabrics.


Diversification of jute products and their uses has its good effects on Bangladesh. The potential domestic market for diversified jute products is enormous because most businesses worldwide are now giving more emphasis on environment-friendly products. A study says only visiting card segment has a market of nearly Tk 550 million. Jute can revive its lost glory of 'golden fibre' only if the government provides policy support to the development of the sector.



Financial Express








A workshop on Revisit the Roadmap for Jute was organized by the International Jute Study Group (IJSG) at IJSG Secretariat, Bangladesh on septemebr 2, 2013.


A Road Map for Jute was commissioned by the International Trade Centre, ITC (WTO/UNCTAD) on behalf of the International Jute Study Group (IJSG) with funding from the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) in the year 2006.


After seven years, it was found that some of the strategies have been partially achieved, initiatives taken for few strategies and others are still quite relevant under present national and global perspectives.


On the other hand, some of the new issues have to be addressed for the sustainable development of the jute sector. Under these circumstances; a revised and feasible development strategy for jute and allied fibres had become imperative in view of the scenario of global and national natural fibres market. Considering these issues IJSG has organized the said workshop on “Revisit the Roadmap for Jute”.


The technical paper of the workshop was presented by Mr Bhupendra Singh, Secretary General; IJSG.  In his presentation Mr Singh addressed on ten major issues for the sustainable development of jute sector such as the seed factor, price volatility, contact farming, minimum support price, diversification etc.  


Renowned economist and chairman of the Jute Commission, Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh Dr Q.K. Ahmad was presented as the chief guest and conducted the technical session of the workshop. He said better technology should be adopted to increase productivity in the agriculture sector including jute. He emphasized on diversification of jute products to get fair share of the global market. Major General Humayun Khaled, Chairman, Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) was also present.


Along with others Ms. Bertha Gity Baroi, Director, Corr-The Jute Works, Mr. Kamran T Rahman, Managing Director, Pubali Jute Mills Ltd and former president of Bangladesh Jute Mills Association, Dr Jahangir Alam, Ex- Director General, Bangladesh Live Stock Research Institute, Dr. Md. Kamal Uddin, Director General, Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI), Mr. Aniruddha H Roy, Private Sector Advisor, Economic Growth Office, U.S. Agency for International Development, Dr.  Mubarak Ahmed Khan, Chief Scientific Officer Institute of Radiation and Polymer Technology, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission were also attended in the workshop.






Fiber 2 Fashion



Export growth drops as apparel shipments fall


The growth of the country's merchandise export declined significantly in August 2013 following a fall in the shipment of major apparel products. Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data revealed that the export earnings stood at $2.01 billion in August this year marking a growth of 3.18 per cent compared to that of the same month in 2012.


In July last, the export growth recorded 24 per cent.In July this year, knitwear items fetched $1.25 billion, registering a 25.24 per cent growth over the corresponding month of 2012.  But in August'13, earnings from knit products stood at $848.25 million. On the other hand, export earnings from woven garments rose by 27.02 per cent to $1.26 billion in July this year while in August, woven earnings stood at $796.05 million.

However, the country's overseas merchandise shipments stood at US$ 5.03 billion in July-August period of FY 2013-14, up from $ 4.39 billion during the same period of FY 2012-13 though it missed the target by 3.86 per cent, according to the EPB data.


Of the total export earnings, knitwear items fetched $2.10 billion during the first two months of the current fiscal, registering a 17.19 per cent growth over the corresponding period of the last fiscal. Earnings from knit items surpassed the target by 5.69 per cent.


On the other hand, export earnings from woven garments also rose by 16.98 per cent to $2.05 billion in July-August of FY 2013-14, which were 4.69 per cent less than the target.


"Earnings vary from month to month but the trend is good," EPB Vice Chairman Shubhashish Bose told the FE. Explaining the negative growth in jute and jute products export, he said demand declined in traditional markets especially in Iran, Iraq and Sudan due to their economic situation and political unrest.

But the demand is growing in new markets like Russia, he said. Executive Director of Centre for Policy Dialogue Mustafizur Rahman said, "The downtrend growth might be the impact of Rana Plaza collapse. But nothing surely could be said before next two or three months.


"All should carefully observe the situation. If it is the impact of Rana Plaza collapse, steps should be taken to overcome the situation," he said adding depreciation of Indian Rupee against dollar needs to be considered while it is undermining our competitiveness.


However, Fazlul Hoque, former President of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) said the growth is usual. He attributed the downtrend to the week-long Eid vacation denying any impact of the Rana Plaza incident. Earnings from jute and jute goods stood at $130.67 million in July-August period of the current fiscal, showing a 14.72 per cent growth. The earnings fell short of the target by over 36 per cent.


Frozen food sector that faced a continuous negative growth over the last fiscal witnessed 38.11 per cent growth last month with the earnings of $117.96 million. The earnings also exceeded the target by 18.64 per cent. Exports of agricultural products grew by 1.25 per cent, pharmaceuticals 24.03 per cent, leather 39.80 per cent, leather goods 11.29 per cent, footwear 23.52per cent and engineering products 32.43 per cent during July-August of 2013-14.



The Financial Express

September-11- 2013



Reclaiming gold in fibres


As one of the major producers of raw jute, our advantage in terms of the price of raw materials cannot be taken away from us. It is high time that we capitalise on this comparative advantage and reclaim our gold in fibre


Bangladesh, in recent years, has de-emphasised the development of jute and jute-based products. The largest jute mill in the world had been closed as a result of that. Since then, international demand for jute and jute-based products has actually grown.

Our neglect of jute has allowed China and India to now occupy almost 70% of the international market while Bangladesh languishes with a meagre 6%. This was a historic mistake. Unlike us, instead of succumbing to the competition from polypropylene substitutes, India and China found new usage for jute and have made impressive strides since.


It is unfortunate that we now have to play catch up with the world; already at least a decade behind, we are now simply raw jute suppliers for the world.


Recent reports of farmers in Kurigram and Kushtia not even being able to recover the production cost, whilst having achieved bumper yields, points to further mismanagement of what not long ago was our primary cash crop.


As one of the major producers of raw jute, our advantage in terms of the price of raw materials cannot be taken away from us. It is high time that we capitalise on this comparative advantage and reclaim our gold in fibre.


All this takes is a properly thought out endeavour. Our farmers need not suffer and the industry need not perish when there still is plenty of room for growth. We badly need to diversify our industrial growth, and jute is still a golden opportunity.



Dhaka Turbine

September-10- 2013



Jute industry opposes new procurement system


Industry argues that transition to the new system will not be a smooth affair wherein the industry may lose out.


In a move unlikely to go down well with the jute industry, the Union commerce ministry has decided to abandon the three-decade old system of procuring jute bags through the Directorate General of Supplies & Disposal (DGSD).


According to the proposed change that might take effect from November 1, the jute bags are going to be sourced through the Jute Commissioner’s office. If the new system comes into force, the Jute Commissioner’s office, apart from procuring jute bags for supply to food agencies, would also issue jute production control and supply orders.


In a recent letter to textiles secretary Zohra Chatterjee, Union commerce secretary S R Rao said, “The DGSD has been procuring jute bags without any statutory backing or executive power for the past three decades. Jute bags are sensitive items for food operations and, therefore, no rate contract or tendering is allowed on the item. The Jute Commissioner is the custodian of the jute industry dealing with all jute matters, including production, pricing, supply and control.”


“The commerce ministry proposes to discontinue services of DGSD in the operation of procurement of jute bags with effect from November 1,” Rao said in the letter. The ministry felt the Jute Commissioner’s office is the only authorised office empowered to deal with these matters.


The industry has opposed the move. It argues that transition to the new system would not be smooth and the industry might lose out. The Jute Commissioner’s office, however, has welcomed the shift. It said there was no need for DGSD to procure jute bags, since the current practice was leading to wasteful expenditure through lengthy inspection of the bags.



Business Standard

September-09- 2013



Magura farmers count losses despite bumper jute production


A bumper production of 432,000 bales of jute has been achieved this year.


Despite a bumper production of jute in Magura this year, local farmers are counting losses because of low jute prices.


Jute farmers have expressed dissatisfaction over the local market price of jute at Tk1100 to Tk1200 for every maund, which is equivalent to 37.32kg. Rezaul Islam, a farmer from Nanduali village in Magura sadar upazila, said he sold 746kg of jute for Tk22,000, while the production cost exceeded Tk24,000.


Faruq Hossen, another farmer from Gangnalia village in Magura sadar upazila, said there were only 3 government jute purchasing centers in Magura, which was inadequate. Middlemen dominated the centers to deprive farmers, he also alleged.


A farmer from Kukila village, Md Hafizuddin alleged the government of failing to realise their commitment of bringing back the glory of jute. “I cultivated jute on 0.4 hectare land this year. But the losses have made me decide not to cultivate jute anymore,” he added.


Fazlur Rahman, a jute wholesaler in Magura Natun Bazar, said: “I am yet to recover Tk20m from Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BGMC), for the jute I sold them last year.” He added that BGMC still owes Magura jute traders over Tk200m, prompting the traders to become reluctant in purchasing or selling jute.


Another trader at the same market, Dasherat Day, said the abnormal inflation of Rupees in India, a large market for Bangladesh, has had an adverse effect on jute prices. Negative jute market trends in countries like Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Tunisia are also causing jute prices in Bangladesh to drop, he added.


When contacted, Mokhlesur Rahaman , deputy director of Agriculture Extension Department (DAE) of Magura, admitted that bumper production has caused jute  prices to fall, but added that farmers will be able to make a profit from their massive production. Sources at DAE of Magura informed, a bumper production of 432,000 bales of jute has been achieved from 42,500 hectares of land that was cultivated for jute in the district this year.



Dhaka Tribune

September-09- 2013




Historic Dundee jute mill to be saved from demolition



By Alan Wilson,


Mark Munsie, Dundee Heritage Trust director.DC Thomson


One of Dundee’s most historic jute mills, which was earmarked for demolition due to its badly deteriorated condition, is now on course for a £2.23 million renovation as a tourist attraction.


Thanks to the “incredible” efforts of a small fundraising team, plus grants from Historic Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund, along with a six-figure bequest from a mystery benefactor, the A-listed Verdant High Mill will come alive again within two years.


The fundraising target, which began last year to raise a shortfall of £250,000 for the project, is now only £70,000 short of its target, Dundee Heritage Trust director Mark Munsie told The Courier.


The building, which sits next to the Verdant Works museum, will be given a complete refurbishment which, while retaining all of its historic features will also see it turned into a gallery space.


Original machinery from the mill will be renovated and become features in the space, while other mill machinery owned by Dundee Heritage Trust will be brought back into public view.


A massive steam engine, which is owned by Dundee City Council and is in pieces, is to be reconditioned as one of the major exhibits in the gallery.


Heritage Lottery has allocated £1.48 million to the project and Historic Scotland has allocated £500,000 towards emergency repairs. Mark said: “We are hoping to start work in the spring of 2014 with an estimated 18-month build program. “I have to say I am hugely excited to be part of a team that is not only saving a significant building but also creating a dramatic and exciting space.


“A space where the public will get a real understanding of the monumental size of the High Mill building, its architecture, the machinery and the people who worked in it. “I suppose you could say we tell stories at our museums and this project will allow us to tell more of our stories.


“The trust is a small independent charity and putting together, and managing a major project of this nature is a credit to the dedicated team who work for the trust and those organisations and individuals who support the trust in many different ways.”

The mammoth task of restoring the two-storey building will begin with clearing and removing the machinery still lying inside, before the ceiling and the roof are removed.


While the roof will be fully replaced, 
the building will become one complete floor, with a massive exhibition space that is intended to be used by theatre groups and private promoters as well as businesses and the local authority. The adjoining “glazed alley”, or batching rooms, is also to be renovated with glass panels in the roof and a weighing machine, weighbridge, cranes and other equipment restored.


The restoration project was the last thing on the minds of the trust when the building reached a critical stage a few years ago. Mark said: “The trust actually put in an application to consider demolition — that’s how serious it got.


“Then we thought, ‘we’re a heritage trust’, and to be knocking down buildings that had such huge heritage was wrong. “We considered its merits and decided to redouble our fundraising efforts and it has slowly evolved. “It’s quite logical, we thought if you have a museum here then it should be part of the museum. “It’s been sad watching it deteriorate over the years and now this is so exciting, I’m really looking forward to seeing it take shape and become a full part of the museum.”


Mark revealed the fundraising effort had been hugely helped by a £100,000 bequest by an anonymous donor. “It’s fantastic and to be going to the Heritage Lottery Fund with a stage two application with the funding in place will be stunning.”


Donations to the High Mill fundraising project can be made through Dundee Heritage Trust and at Verdant Works and Discovery Point.



The Courier.co uk.

September-08- 2013


Non-execution of mandatory jute packaging slated


Staff Correspondent


A file photo shows workers carrying rice sacks made of jute at Ashuganj in Brahmanbaria. Participants at a workshop in Dhaka on Monday expressed dismay over the non implementation of the mandatory jute packaging act three years after its enactment. — New Age photo Jute farmers, millers, researchers and experts of the jute sectors at a workshop on Monday called for increasing local consumption of jute through immediate implementation of jute packaging act to create its demand at home and abroad.They also emphasised on ensuring fair price of jute among growers to help increase the production of jute in the country.

The participants at the workshop expressed their dismay for not implementing the mandatory jute packaging act although it was enacted three years ago by the parliament.

The experts related to jute sectors made their observation at the workshop on ‘Revisit the Roadmap for Jute’ at the secretariat of International Jute Study Group.
Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of jute commission, attended the workshop as chief guest.

Speaking on the occasion, Kholiquzzaman said better technology should be adopted to increase productivity in the agriculture sector including jute. He emphasised on diversification of jute products to catch the global market.Fair price of jute should be ensured to encourage the growers to produce jute in large scale, he said.Kamran T Rahman, former chairman of Bangladesh Jute Mills Association, said although millions of people are involved in producing jute and in jute industries, the government has failed to increase its domestic consumption.

Neighboring India started mandatory use of jute since 1987. Though Bangladesh enacted the mandatory jute packaging act in 2010, the law is not being implemented till now, he said.

Fazlul Haque Hannan, president of jute and vegetables growers’ association, said if the farmers were given seeds timely and ensured fair prices of jute,  they  would be happy to cultivate jute—the  golden fibre of the country.


Humayun Khalid, chairman of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation, said demand of jute goods has been increasing day by day, so time has come to do something for developing the jute sector.

He urged all concerned to play a positive role to develop the jute sector.
The BJMC chairman assured of all-out cooperation to arrange the training necessary to strengthen the sector.


Although jute is called an environment friendly crop having tremendous prospect, use of jute goods are not seen everywhere in Bangladesh, said Kamal Uddin, director general of Bangladesh Jute Research Institute said. Jute can be used in place of cotton, he said, adding that farmers are being motivated to produce jute and quality jute seeds to meet domestic demands.

Jahangir Alam, former director general of Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute, said if farmers get fair price of jute, they would increase the production of jute.
IJSG secretary general Bhupendra Sing presented a technical paper at the workshop.



The New Age

September-03- 2013



Jute experts for implementation of Jute Packaging Act


DHAKA, SEPt 2: The jute experts at a workshop on Monday called for increasing local consumption of jute through immediate implementation of Jute Packaging Act.


The speakers made the remark at a workshop on “Revisit the Roadmap for Jute’, organised by International Jute Study Group (IJSG), at its secretariat in the city. The jute related protagonist expressed their hostility over the government for not implementing the mandatory Jute Packaging Act.

Actually, a roadmap for jute was commissioned by the International Trade Centre, (ITC) on behalf of IJSG with funding from Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) in the year 2006. After seven years, it was found that some of the strategies have been partially achieved. On the other hand, some of the new issues have to be addressed for the sustainable development of jute sector. Considering these issues IJSG has organised the said workshop on “Revisit the Roadmap for Jute”.


The technical paper of the workshop was presented by Bhupendra Sing, secretary general of IJSG.

He addressed on ten major issues for the sustainable development of jute sector such as the seed factor, price volatility, contact farming, minimum support price, diversification etc.

Addressing as chief guest Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of Jute Commission, underscored the need for ensuring the fair price of jute among the farmers to help increase the production of jute in the country.

Qazi Kholiquzzaman said better technology should be adopted to increase productivity in the agriculture sector including jute. He emphasized on diversification of jute products to get fair share of the global market. Kamran T Rahman, former chairman of Bangladesh Jute Mills Association, said although millions of people are involved in producing jute and jute industries, the government has failed to increase the domestic consumption. Neighbouring India started use of jute mandatory since 1987, but in Bangladesh it is not implemented, he said. Fazlul Haque Hannan, president of jute and vegetables growers’ association, said if the farmers are given seeds timely and ensured of fair prices of jute, growers would be encouraged to cultivate jute, golden fibre of the country. Humayun Khaled, chairman of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), said demand of jute goods has been increasing day by day, so time has arrived to do something for jute sector. He urged all concerned to play positive role to develop the jute sector.

The BJMC chairman assured of all-out cooperation to provide the training necessary to strengthen the sector.Although jute is called environment friendly crop having tremendous prospect but use of jute goods are not seen everywhere in Bangladesh, said Kamal Uddin, director general of Bangladesh Jute Research Institute.

Jahangir Alam, former director general of Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute, stressed the need for extending the real benefits to the farmers who grow jute paying their hard labour.

“If farmers get fair prices for their product they would start cultivating jute on more land”, he said.

Farmers are getting lower price comparing to the international market price of jute. It is essential to ensure the fair price of jute for the farmers in order to encourage more jute production, he also added.

“The total demand of jute is almost 4500-500 tonne bale per year but current production of jute is only 2000-2500 tonne per year.The workshop was also addressed among others by Bertha Baroi, director of Corr-The Jute works, Aniruddha H Roy, private sector adviser, Economic Growth Office, US Agency for International Development (USAID), Dr Mubarak Ahmed Khan, chief scientific officer of Radiation and Polymer Technology.



The Independent

September-03- 2013



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.



The Daily Star

September-03- 2013


Jute takes a hit from Middle-East crisis, rupee slide


Sohel Parvez


Owners of nearly half a dozen jute mills suspended production as export demand plummeted following the depreciation of the Indian rupee and a crisis across the Middle East, industry insiders said yesterday.


To stay afloat, many others had to cut down production, they said. “We had to shelve production as it became tough to continue in the backdrop of deepening crises in Libya, Egypt and Syria, which led the prices to drop substantially over the past one year,” said Kashif Mushtaque Wazid, managing director of Fatima-Alyaf Tala-e Jute Industries Ltd.


Mahmudul Huq, deputy managing director of Janata Jute Mills Ltd, one of the leading exporters of jute products, said the entire Middle East market will be blocked if the US attacks Syria.The company had to pull back 11 containers of shipment to Syria following advice from buyers—a development which comes at a time when exports to another major market, India, is facing a cut-back due to the falling value of rupee against the dollar.


“The future is bleak,” he said, adding that his company had to cut production at two of its nine units, with more cutbacks on way.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. “Our market for Syria and Iran is closed. And now Indian importers are not taking delivery of old orders, let alone place new orders,” Yusuf, also the managing director of Faridpur Jute Fibres Ltd. “It has been a month now that we could not make any shipment. Buyers in India are offering too low a price to accept,” said Gopi Kishan Sureka, chief executive of Fiber ‘N Fibre, adding that most jute companies are now running on losses.Other than the cutback in orders, the depreciation of Indian rupee has created another source of worry for the exporters, he said.“India is our main competitor in the world market, and the Indian exporters are exploiting their currency’s fall in value by cutting down the prices for their exports. It is worrying we may lose those markets, where we had been exporting for a long time now.”


Yusuf, also a former chairman of Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association (BJSA), echoed Sureka’s views, adding that the Indian exporters have got a 30 percent price advantage. Shahidul Karim, secretary of BJSA, quoting the association’s chairman Muhammad Shams-uz Zoha, said fresh enquiries have almost come down to nil.


Although exports of jute and jute goods grew by 2.52 percent year-on-year to $80.15 million in July, raw jute, jute yarn and twine, the main export earner of the jute sector, dropped significantly, according to Export Promotion Bureau.



The Daily Star

September-02- 2013



Pvt Jute mills beset by fund crunch as they don't get loans at low rate


Arafat Ara


Private jute millers are facing fund constraints due to the unavailability of bank loans with low interest rate, said sector insiders. If the situation continues, they cannot purchase the targeted volume of raw jute in the ongoing fiscal year (FY) 2013-14, the millers said.


"We planned to buy nearly 1.4 million bales of raw jute this FY, but it will be hampered if we do not get financial support from banks," said Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA) secretary Abdul Barik Khan.

Jute spinning mills also are facing the same adversity. Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association (BJSA) usually purchases around 3.2 million bales of raw jute a year to keep its overseas sales smooth. But this fiscal they may not be able to maintain the quantity.The millers have said although they contribute a lot to the development of local jute industry, they do not get proper facilities from the government like the ones enjoyed by the state-owned jute mills.


The millers urged the government to provide 'blocked account' facilities to the private jute factories against bank loans and interests taken up to June 30, 2013. The facilities include pre-payment of loans with the interest rate at 8 per cent. They also demanded 30 per cent in grant to purchase machinery from abroad. The Indian government, too, offers such facilities to the jute industry in the private sector, they added.


The millers urged Bangladesh Bank (BB) to provide Tk 0.50 incentive against each dollar-earning from the export of jute products, with an appeal to the commercial banks to give current capital in loan at 7 per cent interest. If the banks do not cooperate with the sector, the jute industry cannot remain stable, the sector leaders observed. The jute sector is passing through hard times due to the declining demand for jute products abroad, they said.



The Financial express

September-02- 2013



Jute growers affected by price manipulation


RAJSHAHI, AUG 30: Since beginning of the harvesting season, the jute growers are being deprived of fair price due to dominance and malpractices by the middlemen and traders gang at different hats and bazars in the district. Concurrently, the farmers are failing to recoup the production cost amidst the adverse situation. In the current season, the jute farming faced drought due to scanty rainfall that forced the farmers to irrigate their lands to save their crop. The farmers also face an awkward situation in rotting the jute as the ponds and beels remain dry. The merciful rainfall in late Shravan, however, reduced their sufferings in some extent.


Additional irrigation cost and enhanced labour-cost had propelled the jute production cost this season, farmers said.  They hardly produced eight mounds of jute fiber from per bigha of land by spending at least Taka 8,000. On Monday last, one mound of jute was sold at Taka 1,000 to Taka 1,200 at Nawhata wholesale market and the price isn’t sufficient to recoup the production cost.Most of the farmers alleged that the middlemen and businessmen keep the jute price reduced through syndication.

Sunil Kumar Ghosh, a farmer of Dharmahata village under Pabau upazila, says he had cultivated jute on 1.5 bigha of land and harvested only seven mounds of jute in the wake of bad weather.  He sold the jute at Taka 1,160 per mound and couldn’t get back production cost after selling his harvested jute, he added.

Sunil mentioned that most of his fellow farmers are facing the similar situation. Jute farmers and agriculturists told the news agency separately that the farmers cultivated jute on 12,100 hectares of land in the district this season against the target of 13,514 hectares set by the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE). Expressing their grave concern over the present situation the farmers demanded immediate interference of the government to ensure legitimate price to the growers.

Otherwise, they apprehended that the farmers may turn back from jute cultivation which, in turn, may affect the national economy.


Ekabbar Ali of Shreepur village under Paba upazilla said the farmers in the early season have rotten their jute plants using water from deep tubewell as all the nearby ponds, canals and ditches remain dry due to scanty rainfall this season. In addition to the suffering, the jute growers also had to spent more money for the harvesting and fiber segregation purposes after facing a labor-crisis situation, he informed. He demanded legitimate price of jute for the sake of boosting its output through making the farmers more interested towards the cash crop farming. Ekabbar Ali said the jute is being sold at Tk 1,000-1200 per mound whereas the price was Tk 1,200-1,400 in 2012 while Taka 2,000 in 2010.

“The present market price is very much less than production cost of around Taka 8,000 per bigha,” said Asad Ali, a farmer of Tema village under Mohanpur upazila. Abu Bakker Ai, former president of Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, urged the public and private sector jute mills authorities to purchase jute from the farmers directly and at mill get instead of the middlemen.



The Independent

August,31- 2013




Packaging Act implementation


Govt to finalise issues by tomorrow


Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan


Jute and textile ministry is set to settle all issues relating to implementation of the mandatory jute packaging act enacted by parliament in 2010, officials said. An advisory committee constituted to implement the act will meet on Sunday to discuss the issues and finalise steps to implement the act at the users’ level. The officials said Sunday’s meeting will review the present situation of use of jute package, available quantum of green jute, production cost of jute packages, capacity for supplying jute bags and related issues and take necessary decisions for effective implementation of the act. Parliament passed the Mandatory Jute Packaging Act in October 2010 to help promote the use of jute bags in the country. A gazette notification on the rules related to the act was published on June 3, 2013. Ashraful Moqbul, senior secretary of the jute ministry, told New Age that implementation process of the act has already started as the advisory committee in its last meeting on July 28 formed a sub-committee to set the recommendations after discussing with all stakeholders. The recommendations will be finalised at Sunday’s meeting.

Ashraful, also the chairman of the advisory committee, said all issues including estimation of jute packages based on commodities and percentage of jute to be used for making packages would be finalised on September 1. The jute packages will be used to pack the country’s six products including paddy, rice, wheat, maize, fertiliser and sugar, he said.


The committee will also determine the capabilities of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation and Bangladesh Jute Mills Association to produce jute packages against the national demand, he said.

Meanwhile, jute department officials said the government would gradually bring foodgrain traders under the purview of the packaging act after initial implementation of the act.

A total of 212 jute mills are currently operational in Bangladesh and of them 21 jute mills are run by the government while the rest mills are run by the private owners, said the jute department officials.

When asked about the act, director general of Bangladesh Jute Research Institute Kamal Uddin told New Age that about 15 lakh bales of additional jute would be required annually when the government would start implementation of the mandatory jute packaging act. About 70 lakh bales of jute are produced in the country every year. Of them some 45-50 lakh bales of jute are usually required for local jute industries and the rest are kept for export, he said. The BJRI director general said that Bangladesh has already sequenced genome of Tossa and local variety of jutes to produce the best quality of the natural fibre in the country. Jute production would be gradually increased as salt tolerant jute variety through genome sequence would be introduced in the country’s southern region, he said.



The New Age

August,31- 2013



Ribbon retting fails to attract jute farmers


Traditional rotting system causes water pollution, affects fish cultivation

Star National Desk


Ribbon retting, a method for rotting jute plants with less water, remains virtually ineffective as farmers find the new method more costly than the traditional way of rotting jute.

As many as 1500 devices for jute peeling in ribbon retting method have remained unused in Jessore due to farmers’ lack of interest have no interest to use the machine for its extra expenses that invented to peel jute fibre and rot it in little water, reports our Jessore correspondent.

The government in 2011 introduced ribbon retting method in different areas of the country to ease peeling of jute fibre, said sources of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE in Jessore.

Authorities distributed 800 ribbon retting machines in eight upazilas of Jessore in 2011 and 736 machines in 2012.


Farmers were also provided training on its use.But farmers felt very little interest to use the method for what they said extra cost.“The government distributed 8 to 12 ribbon retting devices in every union of Jessore district free of cost. But those machines are left in the farmers’ houses as they feel no interest to use it due to its extra cost,” said Bazlur Rahman, sub-assistant agricultural officer of Noapara union in Jessore Sadar upazila. Nur Hossain, a farmer of Baganchara–Matpara village under Sharsa upazila in Jessore, who used ribboner last year said, “It needs 24 labourers to peel jute of one bigha of land that costs Tk 6000. It is much more costly than the traditional way of jute peeling. Besides, we get low quality jute stalks if we peel it with using ribbon retting method and our production also reduces by about two maunds in one bigha of land.”Birendranath Majumdar, Jessore Sadar upazila agriculture extension officer, however, claimed that the costs of jute peeling by ribbon retting method and traditional system are almost equal.


Our Lalmonirhat Correspondent reports: Almost all the farmers in the district have continued rotting their jute plants in the traditional way in rivers and other water bodies as ‘ribbon retting method for rotting the plants with less water, is yet to gain popularity in the area.

Due to inadequate rainfall this season, rivers and other water bodies in the district do not have enough water and so, large scale jute rotting causes serious water pollution, posing threat to fish and other aquatic creatures. Ribbon retting method was introduced among the local farmers a couple of years ago in a very limited scale. This year the DAE took an initiative to re-introduce the system but arrangement for training was inadequate and farmers showed very little interest.

Ribbon retting needs polythene and a big hole in the soil. After separating raw fibre from the jute stalk it is kept in the hole full of water. “We are not familiar with the system. A few farmers were informed about the new system but they did not show interest,” said Abdul Hossain, a farmer of Mostofi village under Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila. Krishna Chandra Pal, another farmer of Teesta village in Lalmonirhat Sadar said, “Ribbon retting method seems easy but we took training on it only for a day, which is not sufficient.”

Due to pollution from jute rotting water bodies are turning black and stinky, badly affecting fish production, said Hasmot Ali, Aditmari upazila fishery officer. This year 9,260 hectares of land were brought under the jute cultivation in five upazilas of Lalmonirhat, DAE sources said.



The Daily Star

August,30- 2013


Farmers selling jute below production cost


DINAJPUR, AUG 24: The farmers of Dinajpur district are selling the newly harvested jute in the local markets below the cost of production. Though a little rise in the prices  of jute was noticed recently, growers are not happy with it. During a recent visit to different big jute markets like Kaharol hat, Raniganj hat, Paker hat, Kachinia hat, Bochaganj hat, Birganj hat, Nashipur Firm hat, Ramdubi hat, Goreya hat and Bokdoir hat this correspondent found that raw jute is selling from Tk 1,000 to Tk 1,100 per maund, depending on the quality. Many farmers are unwilling to harvest jute as they fear they will not be able to get the production cost. According to the jute growers of the district cultivation of jute has become expensive in the recent years  due to rise in labour cost, the price of fertilizer and other agriculture materials. Nozibor Rahman, a jute grower of Alubari village under Biral upazila,  said the price of all the inputs of seeds and other expenses have increased by about 25 per cent compared to that in the last year.


However, Nozibor Rahman informed The Independent that he cultivated jute on one acre of land which cost him Tk 24,000. He got a total of 20 maunds  of jute. At present according to local market price of jute he is incurring loss of Tk 4,000 from his one acre land, added Nozibor. Dinesh  Chandra Roy,  another farmer of Pormeshpur village under Kaharol upazila,  told that he got nearly 18 to 20 maunds  of jute from per acre of land which cost him nearly Tk 1,350 per maund. But now jute is selling at Tk 1,000 to Tk 1,050 per maund in the markets  of the district on an average depending on the quality of the jute.  Dhononjoy Roy, a farmer of Khansama upazila,  said that he cultivated jute on two bighas of land this year but incurred losses.


He said production cost of jute has increased due to high labour cost that worried the jute growers of the district. Jute plants are getting dried in the field as the farmers could not ret jute due to high labour cost.‘If the jute price remains  Tk 1,400 to Tk 1,500 per maund it will be profitable’,  added Morsedul Islam,  another farmer of Fatejongpur village under Chirirbandar upazila of Dinajpur district saying that input and labour cost went  up in the last few years.They urged the government to take necessary steps to fix fair prices of jute to encourage the farmers to cultivate jute. In the absence of government-run jute purchasing centre, traders and middlemen are buying jute from farmers and market prices  are under their control, according to the sources. Buyers and middlemen have allegedly formed a syndicate to compel farmers to sell the newly harvested jute at low prices. As a result, the growers are deprived of the fair prices  and so the farmers are frustrated. Farmer Fazlur Rahaman of Pakerhat village under Khansama upazila said that all the jute growers are in problems as they are forced to sell their produce in the  markets to the middlemen,  locally called ‘Faria’ at throwaway prices to meet the family expenses.

Borun Basak, a middleman of Raniganj under Dinajpur Sadar upazila, told  The Independent that he purchased  nearly 400 maunds  to 500 maunds  of jute from  every hat (market).

He sells this jute to different companies  of Syedpur and Khulna at little profits.
According to the sources, the middlemen and traders like Borun Basak are controlling the jute markets  of the district and they decided the market prices  after forming a syndicate.

Moslem Ali, a buyer in Dinajpur Sadar upazila, denied the allegation of making syndicate to control market and said, "In the competitive market none can control the prices. It totally depends on supply and demand." Md Enamul Haque, a member of Business Management Organisation (BMO) of Parbatipur upazila of Dinajpur,  said that the jute growers have been incurring losses  due to low prices of their produce since 2009. He said, in this situation, the farmers of the district would lose their interest in producing jute in the coming years. DAE officials said,  this year farmers of the district cultivated high yielding ‘Tosha’ and local varieties of jute and got bumper production. According to the field level agricultural staff and farmers of the district, this year the production of Tosha variety of jute is 10 to 12 maunds  per acre while local variety seven to eight maunds  per acre. Md Anwarul Alam,  Deputy Director of Dinajpur DAE,  told that the  Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) of Dinajpur brought at least 9,515 hectares  land under jute cultivation in Dinajpur while the target was 8,947 hectares land. It is expected that around 90,400 bales  of jute will be produced in Dinajpur.



The New Age

August,25- 2013


Timely action needed to save jute production


That jute growers count losses as the item, once called the golden fibre, now sells in the local market for prices less than its average production cost indeed does not augur well for the sector as a whole. According to farmers, as quoted in a New Age report on Saturday, they need to sell a maund of jute for, on an average, Tk 1,000 while they have had to spend more than that to produce the same amount of jute, especially because of an increase in prices of fertilisers and cost of labour this year. Additionally, according to Department of Agricultural Extension officials, around 50 per cent of jute cultivated this year have been harvested as of August 22. With this fact in consideration, one has reasons to fear that when the rest amount of jute will be harvested, jute market may go down well, leaving the growers literally in the lurch.


It is important to note that even after getting downsized under successive governments that pursued wrong policies prescribed mainly by different international lending agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in the sector over the past few decades, the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation still buys a significant portion of local jute every year. Moreover, if done in time, the purchase usually helps growers a lot to bargain with the middlemen who hardly miss any opportunity to collect jute from the local market at a throwaway price. On the other hand, falling victim to mismanagement, corruption and irregularities, as the state-owned entity, unfortunately though, is yet to come out of losses and needs to borrow the money required to buy jute from the government on a regular basis. Regrettably, however, as in previous years, the government appears unwilling to provide the required loans to the BJMC in time this year as well. It is needless to say that such a situation is certain to dampen the jute market further.


Ironically, all this occurs at a time when the government has been making claims on more than one occasion ever since it assumed office in 2009 that it has taken a number of steps with the intention to boost jute production as well as the jute industry. Besides, even the prime minister has sought to depict a rosy picture about the future of the jute sector just the other day when she was bragging about her government’s contribution to the recent invention concerning jute genome sequencing by a number of local scientists. The government needs to realise that, coming out of rhetoric, it needs to do something effective to help jute industries, public and private, to run well in the first place. At the same time, it needs to help farmers to reduce significantly jute production cost by giving the latter price support and the like.



The New Age

August,25- 2013



Mongla port now to have exclusive shed


The facility to hasten export of jute, jute goods

Syful Islam

The government decided to construct a shed at the Mongla port to ease export of jute and jute goods through the country's second seaport, sources said. Construction of the shed will cost nearly Tk 9.0 million and it will be built during the period of July 2013 and¬ June 2015, according to the sources. ¬�Once constructed, the shed will facilitate stuffing and un-stuffing of jute and jute goods throughout the year and export of goods through the port will also pace up,¬� said a senior official at the Ministry of Shipping (MoS).


He said the Mongla port started its operation as an anchorage port in 1950 to facilitate export of jute and jute goods, since¬ Bangladesh¬ was one of the largest exporters of the items. The demand for jute and jute goods was high in the global market then. Later, five jetties, four transit sheds, two warehouses, three open stack yards, and internal roads were constructed there to turn it into a full-fledged port. But, the official said, no exclusive shed was built there for stuffing and un-stuffing of jute and jute goods, though these are¬ some of Bangladesh's major exportable items.

¬�The absence of an exclusive shed was causing hindrances to stuffing and un-stuffing of jute and jute goods at the port,¬� he added. Another MoS official said during the period of 2002-2009 export-import activities at the Mongla port came down drastically due to various reasons. But later the volume of cargo handling at the port increased significantly following various steps taken by the authority.


The major export items the Mongla port handles include: jute and jute goods, shrimp, frozen food and general cargo. On the other hand, the import items include food grain, bulk cement, clinker, fertiliser, machinery and motor vehicles. During the fiscal year 2011-12 about 35 vessels reached the port carrying 30,045 TEUs (twenty feet equivalent units) of containers against its capacity of handling 50,000 TEUs of containers per year. Besides, the port handled export and import of 2.51 million tonnes of goods, including machinery, cotton, general cargo, jute and jute goods, and frozen food against the capacity of 6.5 million tonnes.


Officials said the Mongla port would face a greater load, when the¬ Padma¬ Bridge¬ would be constructed. Besides, the seaport would have to handle transit goods of¬ India,¬ Nepal¬ and Bhutan,¬ if the facility was offered to the neighbouring countries. The three neighbours are requesting¬ Bangladesh¬ to offer the transit facility to them allowing transportation of their export-import goods through the country. They said carrying out further development work was necessary to prepare the port for managing the increased volume of load.



The Financial Express

August,24- 2013




Jute mill reopens



BIRATNAGAR: Activities have increased with the reopening of Biratnagar Jute Mill here. Locals, entrepreneurs and merchants are excited after the jute mill at Biratnagar-21, Rani, reopened. The mill was closed four years ago. The local market was hit hard and many workers lost their jobs for a long time. A private Indian company has taken the mill on lease and reopened it under its management recently. The agreement signed has it that the contractor company has to pay Rs 13.5 million annually to the government of Nepal. It has been taken on contract for 25 years. The mill aims to produce 30 metric tonnes of jute daily but has been producing 15 metric tonnes only, said Shyam Poudel, General Manager at the jute mill.



The Himalayan

August,22- 2013


Dhaka, Delhi sign MoU on co-op in textiles sector



India and Bangladesh on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in textiles.


The Secretary, Ministry of Textiles of India, Zohra Chatterjee and the Senior Secretary, Textiles, Bangladesh, Ashraful Moqbul have signed this MoU on behalf of their respective sides for cooperation in Textile sector in New Delhi.


“The MoU on Textiles sector collaboration would act as a major trade facilitation mechanism, by establishing and institutional mechanism for collaboration through a Joint Working Group” Rao Monday told media at a joint press conference with his Bangladeshi counterpart in New Delhi, according to agencies.


“The Joint Working Group develop collaborations between the Textiles Institutions in the two countries- between the skill building institutions, fashion institutes and research institutions,” Rao added.The ministers of two sides have also discussed the issues including enhancement of collaboration in textiles sector between the two countries by signing an other MoU on cotton security for Bangladesh textiles mills and the establishment of a successor organization for the International Jute Study Group in Dhaka through Joint efforts at the UNCTAD.

As regards, the Cotton Purchase Agreement, the final drafts have been exchanged between the 3 sides. “In 2013-14 cotton season, I have assured his Excellency that Bangladesh Textiles Mills would not have any difficulties in sourcing cotton from India.”The other item that both sides have discussed were the setting up of a successor organization to the International Jute Study Group whose term concludes in March 2014.


India has in-principle agreed to support the Bangladesh initiative for a successor multilateral organization in Jute sector for taking forward the initiatives of the International Jute Study Group.

“We would also be willing to form a joint front with the Government of Bangladesh in requesting prospective member countries to support a proposal for forming a new organization as a successor to IJSG at UNCTAD, as and when the conference is convened on request of the initiating countries,” Rao said.India and Bangladesh produce above 90 percent of the world production of jute and allied fibers. On trade and importing countries like Turkey, China, Pakistan and others to give the organization a multinational look.


Rao said, India and Bangladesh have long shared a warm relationship. India and Bangladesh have a long history in textiles sector.


“India’s textile imports from Bangladesh in pursuance of the Prime Minister’s visit 2011 have increased from USD 164 million in 2010 to USD 271 million in 2011 and USD 289 million in 2012.”

In 2013, statistic indicate an increase of 15 percent over 2012. Imports are increasing in chapter 61, 62 and 63 which are apparel articles both knitted and woven and also in home textiles.

“I do hope that this strong performance trends in Bangladesh exports to India in textiles sector continue to develop in the coming years,” Rao added. The Indian Minister for Textiles, Dr. Kavuru Sambasiva Rao, the Minister of Textiles Bangladesh, Abdul Latif Siddique and Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Textiles, Panabaka Lakshmi were among others present during the agreement singing ceremony.- See more at: http://www.daily-sun.com/details_Dhaka,-Delhi-sign-MoU-on-co-op-in-textiles-sector_591_1_3_1_15.html#sthash.ABihLCY0.dpuf



The Daily Sun

August,21- 2013


'Genome sequencing of local jute disclosed'



Staff Correspondent


Bangladeshi scientists have sequenced the DNA of the traditional variety of jute having already unravelled the genome for ‘Tosha’ jute, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced.


Dr Maqsudul Alam who led the painstaking but secretive research was present in a prime ministerial media briefing that began at Ganabhaban at 4pm on Sunday. The decoding will enable Bangladesh to own all the genetic documents of the natural fibre which has reappeared as a crucial resource in the campaign for environmental friendliness.


Earlier in 2010, Hasina disclosed in Parliament that Bangladeshi researchers had done genome sequencing of jute which would help develop the jute fibre, production of new jute seeds compatible with hostile weather caused by the climate change, curb diseases and help develop the jute industry.


Jute is the second largest fibre crop in terms of cultivation and usage next to cotton. Bangladesh is the world's second-largest producer of jute after India, and the world's largest exporter of the fibre.

The Prime Minister said, “Our scientists have finished decoding the DNA sequencing for local jute alongside ‘Tosha’ jute. Now the mystery of jute's life cycle is within our grasp.”

“This is our asset. And the country’s scientists have discovered its mysteries.” Hasina thanked everyone involved in the research of jute which is expected to regain its lost glory of being the golden fibre after the two breakthroughs in its genome sequencing.


She added that initiatives were now underway to lodge Bangladesh's Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) over the jute genome sequencing as the scientific achievement came amid tough competition from other countries.


Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh's jute has lost out on the international market after an agreement with the World Bank during the BNP regime led to the closure of the jute mills.

Dr Alam, researcher for Bangladesh Jute Research Institute, present in the briefing, said, “No one who studies jute in any part of the world can ignore our achievements. The keys to all its mysteries are in our hands.”

He invited reporters to visit the research centre at 10am on Monday and witness for themselves the overall progress of the research. Dr Alam and his team shot to global fame after they discovered the genome sequence for ‘Tosha’ jute -- the Jute Plant Draft Genome – in June, 2010. .

Their triumph continued as they sequenced the DNA make-up of a fungus, Macrophomina Phaseolina, which reduces yield of more than 500 species of crops including jute, soybean, cotton, tobacco, maize and sunflower. Hasina announced both of these ground-breaking achievements to the nation.


Dr Alam, who also teaches the University of Hawaii at Manoa, has achieved two more milestones in genomics - sequencing the genomes of Papaya in the US and Rubber in Malaysia.
Experts say this gene sequencing will help improve the fibre length and quality, including colours and strength; and develop high yielding, saline soil-and pest-tolerant jute varieties through genetic engineering.


A genome is all of a living thing's genetic material and it is the entire set of hereditary instructions for building, running, maintaining an organism, and passing life on to the next generation. Genome sequencing is a laboratory process that determines the complete DNA sequence of an organism's genome at a single time. The process is often compared to "decoding", but a sequence is still very much in code.




August,18- 2013




Bangladeshi scientists decode jute genome


Scientists in Bangladesh have succeeded in decoding or sequencing of traditional variety of the jute genome after months of hectic and secretive research, that will enable the country to own all the genetic documents of the natural fibre, it was announced today. "Our scientists have decoded the jute genome. The mystery of jute's life cycle is now in our hands," Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told a press conference here.


She added that initiatives were now underway to lodge Bangladesh's Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) over the jute genome sequencing as the scientific achievement came amid tough competition from other countries. Bangladeshi-American scientist Maqsudul Alam, who led a consortium of researchers, succeeded in achieving the success more than a year after the team decoded the Jute Plant Draft Genome.

Experts say, a genome sequence allows scientists to identify and understand how genes work together for the plant's different features like growth, development and maintenance as an entire organism and enable them to manipulate the genes and enhance, reduce or add certain features of the plant.

Alam, a professor of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, achieved four milestones in genomics - sequencing the genomes of papaya, rubber, jute and fungus. Bangladesh is the world's largest producer of jute, producing over 1.5 million tonnes in 2011.

Jute was once called Bangladesh's "golden fibre" as it was the country's main export-earning product until early 1970s and it has reappeared as a crucial resource in the campaign for environmental friendliness.

Bangladesh earned USD 1.6 billion alone last year by exporting jute and the amount was around USD 3 billion in the past three years while the premier said massive initiatives were underway for diversified use of jute in different sectors as a biodegradable product. "The announcement may not appear very significant to you today, but it is a very big achievement for the country's future generations," Hasina said.


The Bangladesh Standard

August,18- 2013




The burden of loss-making jute mills


Syed Jamaluddin


The government has assumed past liabilities of the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) amounting to Tk 23.96 billion (2,396 crores). The government will take steps to make the BJMC profitable. They hope that the BJMC will turn out to be a profitable entity in future. The government has also agreed to pay Tk 3.64 billion (364 crores) for arrear bills, wages, electricity, gas and retirement benefits up to June 2010. The Finance Minister hopes that jute sector will regain its lost glory. The government has also paid Tk 2.0 billion (200 crores) for buying jute and Tk 5.0 billion (500 crores) for refinancing. The BJMC incurred losses during the last 40 years. It borrowed Tk 22.09 billion (2,209 crores) from Sonali, Rupali, Agrani and Janata banks for running the mills.

Although private sector jute mill owners welcomed the government decision to bear the losses of the BJMC mills, they mentioned about their losses in running the mills because of gas and electricity crisis and increased pay and allowances of workers and bank loans. They are not receiving any support in running their mills as compared to the BJMC mills. Private sector mills are in a disadvantageous position in respect of financial assistance. It is not fair that the government and private sector mills are not treated in the same manner.


During the last two years, the price of jute goods in the international market has come down. The Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation is again in trouble. The burden of losses is incresing. After 22 years of loss-making, the BJMC made a profit of about Tk 180 million (18 crores) in 2010. But in 2011-12, they incurred a loss of Tk 660 million (66 crores). In 2012-13, their loss amounted to Tk 3.80 billion (380 crores) although there was a subsidy of 10 per cent. Last year 12 mills recorded loss. However, the BJMC earned over $1.0 billion in 2012-13 from jute exports. Users in importing countries are gradually abandoning the use of synthetic bags in view of health hazard. They are looking for natural fibre like jute to replace synthetic bags.


BJMC export has shown improvement. The cause of loss is mainly due to 70 per cent increase in the wages of workers and 40 per cent increase in the price of power. Export price has gone down by 10 per cent. The government has reopened a few closed mills. Currently 23 mills are operational. One jute mill is still closed. But the government has not made efforts for modernisation and reform. One project proposal of BJMC is pending in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for more than one year and a half. Lack of product diversification and inadequate use of jute bags in the domestic market are responsible for the loss of the BJMC, said BJMC officials.


In the economic survey for 2013, the loss of the BJMC for the year 2012-13 has been estimated at Tk 3.8043 billion (380 crores 43 lakhs). The BJMC's loss has been the highest among the state-owned enterprises. The mills are running with equipment which are many years' old. Daily production in the BJMC mills is 680 tons per day. This production could be raised to 900 tons if modern equipment were installed. In order to capture export market, there is no alternative to modernisation.

In 2011, the BJMC took up a combined development project at a cost of Tk 840 million (84 crores). This project includes work atmosphere, modernisation of equipment and infrastructure development. The same year the project was sent to the textile and jute ministry. This was finally sent to the PMO for approval. The approval of PMO is awaited. The government has taken the initiative to reopen the closed Adamjee Jute Mills. For this purpose a project was taken at a cost of Tk 3.07 billion (307 crores). There is no progress in processing of the project. In this connection it may be mentioned that closure of the Adamjee Jute Mills was once considered as one of the best decisions in Bangladesh administration. Attempt to reopen the mill may backfire.

It was hoped that the International Jute Study Group (IJSG) located in Bangladesh would show that diversified uses of jute would find market abroad and new machineries would be helpful in increasing production. This really never happened. The predecessor of IJSG, the International Jute Organisation (IJO) also failed to create any impact. Jute research has never made any significant contribution.

Although the government is spending a huge amount of money from the public exchequer to salvage the jute sector, the outcome is disappointing. The BJMC can never be a viable organisation with losing jute mills. It is a wishful thinking of the government that the BJMC will be profitable. The privatisation commission is sitting idle. The loss-making jute mills could be given to them for privatisation. No single entity was privatised during the tenure of this government. Therefore, there is no justification for keeping the commission alive. It is a sheer waste of resources.

It is not understood why the government is opening closed mills and draining national resources. The BJMC should operate with those mills which can make profit and which have the potential to do so and the rest of the mills should be privatised immediately. The only justification for spending a huge amount of public money in the jute sector is to draw the attention of the voters.

It is said that the glorious era of jute is returning and the government should promote jute production and take other steps. Jute farming has received a boost due to increase in export of jute and jute goods. But this is a temporary phenomenon. We must be realistic and trim the jute sector and stop pumping more public money in this sector. In fact, there is no jute policy in Bangladesh. The government should announce a comprehensive jute policy covering all aspects of jute.

The writer is an economist and columnist. syedjamaluddin22@yahoo.com



The Financial Express

August,18- 2013



Bangladesh-India textile cooperation agreement on Monday


Sheikh Shahariar Zaman Commerce


Bangladesh-India textile cooperation agreement on Monday


Bangladesh is set to sign a memorandum of understanding with India to cooperate on textiles sector through exchanging technologies.“We will sign the MoU on August 19,” Textiles and Jute Secretary Md Ashraful Moqbul told the Dhaka Tribune.


The MoU was supposed to be signed during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2011, but both the parties could not reach an agreement, he said.

Training institutes of the countries would also exchange faculty under the agreement, he added. About the Saarc cumulation on textiles, he said Bangladesh did not agree with the proposal. Both the sides would discuss the future of International Jute Research Group as the tenure of the body is going to be expired in April next year.

“Bangladesh is in favour of continuing the operation of the group as it is the only organization having headquarters located in Dhaka,” Moqbul said.


Dhaka is also in touch with European Union for the continuation of the operation of the IJRG, but apparently they did not show enthusiasm, he added.



Dhaka Tribune

August,15- 2013



Ewedu leaves: More than a vegetable


Jute or saluyot leaves (called ewedu among the Yoruba and rama among the Hausa and their Fulbe neighbours) are used as a food source in many parts of the world. It is a popular vegetable in West Africa and is not just rich in nutrition but also has a lot of health benefits, including protecting us from various diseases. Nutrition-wise, vegetables are low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals. They are also good sources of fibre. Fibre keeps the intestinal tract in good health and may even reduce the risk of some cancers and diseases.


The leaves contain almost all of the nutrients needed by humans and are high in antioxidant property, primarily in the form of Vitamin E. These antioxidants combine with free radicals that cause health problems like arthritis, hardening of arteries, heart and kidney ailments and inhibit the harmful and destructive effects of these radicals.

It is also used as herbal medicine to control or prevent dysentery, worm infestation and constipation. Ewedu  leaves are rich in vitamins, carotinoids, calcium, potassium and dietary fibres. Although it has been grown for food, in recent times it has been discovered that ewedu has many other benefits, including anti-ageing benefits.

Ewedu as vegetable and medicine


Studies have shown that this green, leafy vegetable is rich in beta-carotene for good eyesight, iron for healthy red blood cells, calcium for strong bones and teeth, and vitamin C for smooth, clear skin, strong immune cells, and fast wound-healing. Vitamins A, C and E present in ewedu “sponge up” free radicals, scooping them up before they can commit cellular sabotage. As a vegetable, it contains an abundance of antioxidants that have been associated with protection from chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and hypertension as well as other medical conditions.


Ayurvedics (ancient Hindu system of healing) use the leaves for ascites, pain, piles, and tumours. Elsewhere, the leaves are used for cystitis, dysuria, fever, and gonorrhoea. The cold infusion is said to restore the appetite and strength.

Ewedu and weight loss

The green leaf has been described as a source of weight loss. Serving ewedu without meat or fish only has 97 calories. So, for those trying to lose some weight, include ewedu in your diet.

Ewedu for pregnant women

This jute leaf has been known to be a remedy for pregnant women experiencing prolonged labour. When a pregnant woman is experiencing prolonged labour, a bunch of ewedu leaves squeezed with the stem can be given to her to drink. It has also been discovered to aid milk secretion in lactating mothers.



Nigerian Tribune

August,17- 2013


Dhaka, Delhi eye bigger textile coop


Bangladesh and India will ink a deal on promoting bilateral cooperation in the textiles sector.

The Indian High Commission in Dhaka on Friday said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) would be signed during the visit of Textiles and Jute Minister Abdul Latif Siddique to New Delhi on Aug 19. He will be visiting on the invitation of his counterpart KS Rao and the two would hold ‘extensive talks’ on issues involving the textile and jute sectors. The MoU will provide cooperation in fashion technology, skills exchange, and productivity enhancement.

It also aims to foster cooperation on techno-commercial collaboration in development of textiles including upgrading and enhancing production efficiency, management techniques, training, research and development; cooperation and facilitation in participation in trade exhibition and buyer-seller meet; making a provision for supply of agreed quantum of jute and jute goods from Bangladesh to India every year.


Jute and textiles contributed more than 50 percent of Bangladesh’s exports of $ 563.96 million to India in the last fiscal.

While the overall growth in Bangladesh exports to India in the last fiscal has been 13.15 percent compared with earlier fiscal, export of raw jute has grown by 17.5 percent to $133.9 million from $ 113.9 million. In the same period, export of jute goods has grown 6.7 percent to $ 78.2 million from $ 73.3 million. After the removal of duty and quota on readymade garment in September 2011, Bangladesh exports of woven and knitwear RMG to India had registered an increase of 53 percent in the 2011-12 fiscal. In the last fiscal, exports in this sector again grew by 36.7 percent.




August,16- 2013



Ribbon retting for rotting jute plants amid water scarcity stressed


Our Correspondent

MITHAPUKUR, Aug 2: Agriculture experts at a discussion here recently stressed for using the low-cost ribbon retting technology in rotting jute plants amid water scarcity to get upgraded quality of the fibre with increased production.


They were addressing the discussion arranged on the occasion of a farmers' field day on 'Extension of Ribbon Retting Technology of Jute at Farmers' Levels' at Joyram Anwar village under Pairaband union in Mithapukur upazila here.


Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) from Khamarbari in Dhaka Shamsul Bari attended and addressed the discussion, organised by the Mithapukur Upazila DAE, as the chief guest.

Mithapukur Upazila Agriculture Officer Dr Sarwarul Haque took part as the main discussant and elaborately narrated the lowest cost ribbon retting technology that helps the farmers rotting jute plants easily and everywhere despite droughts of water scarcity.


The agriculture experts provided practical and on-spot knowledge to over 200 farmers on ribbon retting technology for separating jute fibre from harvested jute plants and rotting those easily adopting the technology at their homesteads.


They also narrated the lowest-cost ribbon retting technology and its tremendous benefits in overcoming drought-like situation and water scarcity for rotting jute plants to get the best quality fibre with maximum yields and prices.


They said increasing multidimensional use of jute products has been enhancing jute demand faster in the global markets following adverse effects of synthetic fibre on environment ushering a new hope for revival past glory of the golden fibre.


At the same time, they elaborated various traditional and low-cost retting ways including ribbon retting during droughts or water scarcity to improve the quality and grade of jute-kenaf/mesta-fibre to ensure higher market prices.



The News Today

August,12- 2013


First-ever jute commodity exchange starts operation from this month


Jasim Uddin Haroon


The first-ever jute commodity exchange will start its operation on an experimental basis in four districts from this month (August), sources familiar with the exchange told the FE Saturday.

The districts are Madaripur, Rajbari, Pabna and Kurigram. There will be five pilot projects in total.Earlier, the government approved the establishment of a single-crop commodity exchange on a pilot basis.This is the country's first move to float a commodity exchange aimed at ensuring transparency and competitiveness in commodity trading.


Local Deshbandhu Group, along with Dubai-based Pride Group, the owning company of the commodity exchange, will conduct the pilot projects."After piloting this year, we expect to launch commercial operation of the commodity exchange from the next season," Rahman Habib, chief investment officer of the Deshbandhu Group, told the FE.


Bangladesh is the world's largest jute exporting nation with more than US$ 1.0 billion export receipts a year.Bangladesh produces 7.6 million bales (each bale is equivalent to 180 kilogrammes) of jute. A consortium of local and international investors will, however, expand its commodity exchange for other commodities like main staple rice, wheat, potato, corn and soybean in the agricultural sector and gold and silver in the precious metal sector.


Commodity exchange ensures transparency in the trading of crops. Jute & Hessian Commodity Exchange in Kolkata is one of the oldest exchanges in the region.The commodity exchange in Dhaka is to be called "Bangla Mercantile Commodity Exchange or BMEx".


Meanwhile, jute goods manufacturers said such type of exchange might help bring transparency in the raw jute trading as middlemen take much of the dividends of the crop.Chairman of Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA) Najmul Huq told the FE: "A successful commodity exchange will help ensure fair prices for the jute growers."


Mr Huq, also managing director of Janata Jute Mills, said: "We want just a replica of Kolkata jute exchange in the land as it is one of the oldest in the region and a very successful one."He also said their cost of doing business will fall as they now need much money in collecting raw jutes.

"Definitely, it will reduce our headache significantly," said Mr Huq who represents the country's private sector jute mills. On the other hand, Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), the government organ in procuring and manufacturing of jute goods, said there is little scope for opening up new purchasing centres by the Deshbandhu Group and its Dubai-based alliance.


BJMC Chairman Major General Humayun Khaled said: "We've already established 170 purchasing centres across the country for this season." The jute season lasts three months ending in October.However, Mr Habib of Deshbandhu Group, said his company will join with the purchasing centres. He said: "We've taken adequate preparation to run operations on a pilot basis after Eid."Commodity exchanges enable buyers and sellers to enter different contracts including spot, future and forward deals.



The Financial Express

August,04- 2013



Regaining lost glory of the 'golden fibre'


Once called the 'golden fibre', jute has of late shown great potential to regain its lost glory. Export of jute and jute goods last year was a pointer to that fact. Bangladesh earned over US$1.0 billion from jute exports in the last fiscal year (FY), 2012-13. This was for the second time in recent years the earning from export of raw jute and jute goods reached the billion dollar mark, the fiscal 2010-11 being the first occasion to achieve the feat.


The reasons behind an increased demand for jute and jute goods in foreign markets are not far to seek. Users in importing countries are gradually abandoning the use of synthetic bags and other materials in view of health hazards associated with those. The world being aware of such hazards more than before is increasingly setting its eyes on natural fibres like jute to replace synthetic bags and such other goods of common use. Last year, jute yarn exports fetched $506.74 million and jute sacks and bags $237.42 million, recording a robust growth of 28.16 per cent.


Now that the glorious era of jute is returning at a fast pace, it is time for the government to devise ways and means to promote jute production in the country once again. The jute farming has already received a boost due to the increase in exports of jute and jute goods, revival of closed jute mills, disbursement of incentives and other steps taken by the government. However, more incentives need to be extended to jute growers along with measures to keep the export momentum going in the coming years so that farmers stick to jute cultivation.


Fortunately, Bangladesh is hosting an international jute research group that was earlier called International Jute Organisation (IJO). The research group can show the country, the world's largest producer of quality jute and jute goods, the diversified uses of jute for exports and advise the government in equipping the jute mills with machinery to manufacture jute products that would readily find markets outside. This is vital as the demand for raw jute has been declining abroad. There has been a 13 per cent decrease in raw jute export last year over that of the previous year.


In some areas of Bangladesh, jute cultivation through seedling transplantation has yielded greater promise. The new process gives twice the yield compared to the traditional method of sowing seeds. After transplantation of jute seedlings, no further weeding is required until the time of harvesting, whereas the usual process needs weeding, at least, on three occasions that adds to the costs of jute production. Impressed by the results of the new method, the farmers, who had earlier given up jute cultivation in northern areas due to its declining prices, have started showing renewed interest in its cultivation. The transplantation process has already spread there. This may be replicated in other jute growing areas of Bangladesh. Jute has all the prospect of becoming a good foreign exchange earner like apparels and there should be no laxity in promoting both production and export of the golden fibre.



The Financial Express

August,03- 2013



Ailing jute sector needs special privileges


Official data shows jute production declined by 850,000 bales in the past two years

A worker poses while carrying raw Jute


The Jute Ministry has sought four special privileges from the Finance Ministry to revive the country’s once golden fibre industry rescuing it from severe financial crisis, said the officials while talking about a recent letter yesterday.


Earlier, the officials informed that a letter was sent on 17 July to the finance ministry seeking fund for the ailing industry to repay its loans which had already been reported in the Dhaka Tribune on July 15.  


The officials now said there were actually four privileges sought in the letter.

According to them, the privileges included extension of loan repayment deadlines, low-rate funding for the entrepreneurs, providing loans to the importers of jute industrial machineries and grants.


“The growth of Bangladesh’s jute sector currently relies on private entrepreneurs, but they are in trouble now,” Md Asraful Mukbul, Jute Secretary, told the Dhaka Tribune. Finance ministry will give those financial facilities to private jute sector to stay in global competition, he pointed out.  


Official data showed jute production declined by 850,000 bales in the past two years. Besides, there was 21% fall in the export of jute goods in last fiscal year as the destination countries were facing financial meltdown.


Bangladesh Jute Association figures showed the raw jute exports during FY2012-2013 till March stood at 1.5m bales worth Tk10.43bn. “The sooner the rescue efforts taken, the better for the industry,” said Sabbir Yusuf Chowhury, ex-president of Bangladesh Spinners Association.


He opined that a good decision could change jute sector, one of the country’s oldest industries.


“Already, we have been affected by the country’s political unrest while we are losing market in the EU and Middle-Eastern countries. The government has to take decision earlier,” commented Sabbir Yusuf Chowhury.


Earlier, the officials said the letter recommended four things that included giving blocked account facilities to private jute factories against bank loans and interests since July 30, 2011. The facilities include repayment of loans with the interest rate at 8-10%.

 Finance Minister is to decide on the privileges sought, said sources. 



Dhaka Tribune

August,02- 2013



Such A Jute!


Forgotten foods, smells and tastes resuscitated

What does nostalgia taste like? Does it come on in a rush, or linger gently? In a country so utterly deep-fried in culinary folklore and history, but also avidly sampling a global catalogue of tastes, the answers can be piquant and many. One set comes from First Food, an initiative of the Delhi-based Centre of Science and Environment. Putting neglected culinary secrets back on the map, the engaging, 168-page book stirs memories of piping hot jute pakoras and other leaf preparations of a Bengal before partition, of the fermented kanji vada evoking images of Holi festivities in northern parts of India, and among other delights, of the simple yet rarely found dishes made using tender bhang leaves.


“As we find ourselves surrounded with a junk food culture, we stand to lose our local culinary traditions,” says CSE director-general Sunita Narain. First Food attempts to swim against that tide. Riding on anecdotes of travels through India’s food-rich interiors sampling local cuisine, the recipe-laden pages return to old-time pantry gems like makhana or fox nut, that lotus seed known to heal cardiovascular disease and post-delivery pain; the mahua flower, rich in minerals; or the karanda, a whole fruity reservoir of vitamins. The recipes and anecdotes come from most regions of India, and the dishes are divided neatly under subheads such as ‘Breakfast and Snacks’, ‘Meals’, ‘Chutneys and Pickles’, ‘Sweets’ and so on, detailing related ancient wisdom and folklore that would interest foodies, young and old. “The idea of putting together this book,” notes co-author and Down to Earth science editor Vibha Varshney, “is not just to bring back to the fore lost traditions but also to pass it on to the next generation.” First Food draws from the various articles published in CSE’s magazine Down to Earth over more than a decade, and written by over 40 contributors.


In one of the most intriguing sections of the book, Sharmila Sinha, who teaches at the Anil Agarwal Green College in Delhi, recounts her run-ins with bhang on her visits to Varanasi and the hills. “The use and abuse of hemp in several civilisations has been recorded from time immemorial; so have been its several therapeutic properties. I discovered some four years ago during a field trip with students to villages in the Shivaliks, the Himalayan foothills. The Van Gujjar communities there told us that smoking a joint just before delivery eases pain. The paste of fresh bhang leaves is also used to dress wounds and cure sores; its juice is applied to cure lice infestation and dandruff.”


On another page, contributor Shyamal Banerjee’s piece on jute pakoras is a call to rom≠ance: “As the finely chopped jute (Corchorus capsualris) goes tender on the iron wok and the leaves lose some of their glueyness, a wild aroma fills the kitchen, smelling of the hot humid earth of the Gangetic delta, where jute grew in abundance. A dash of mustard kasundi on the cooked leaves is likely to conjure up images of the little mound of steamy white rice with the cooked jute leaves neatly placed beside it on a big brass thaal (platter). The bright yellow chutney of crushed mustard adds just the right punch to let the flavours play on the palate for a while before they invade the sen≠ses. The fibre in the leaves ensures there is no constipation caused by all the overindulgence.”






“As the junk food culture surrounds us, we stand to lose our local culinary tradition.”—Sunita Narain





Back in his own kitchen, chef Manish Mehrotra, who often infuses his menus with dashes of karanda, chaulai, makhana at his fusion restaurant Indian Accent in Delhi, is quite smitten with the idea of nostalgia marrying modern elements of cooking. “I’m exc≠ited about what a book like First Food could do to help revive old ways of cooking. While sourcing some of the ingredients could be tricky, depending on which region you are based in, as a community we should look at reinventing traditional fare and including it in our daily lives.” His peer chef Rajiv Mal≠hotra has already begun work on a menu for the eateries at the Habitat Centre in Delhi, which will be promoting dishes from First Food in the coming month. “I was so happy to see a recipe for Bajra kheer in the book—we had become so used to feeding bajra only to the pigeons!” he chuckles. Malhotra has stocked his pantry with bajra, sattu, drumsticks, chaulai ka saag, and awaits the arrival of karanda, gongura, fresh bamboo shoot to get down to cooking and sampling and working out the finer details of the programme.


Could such initiatives presage a larger movement for homegrown food practices? Not until they find a way into our economic growth model, believes Devinder Sharma, agriculture and food policy analyst, and a First Food contributor. “There is a kind of assault on traditional food habits currently,” he observes. “While the government of America is trying to drive away processed junk food chains that are leading to obesity, in India we are welcoming them with open arms. Till traditional and local ingredients are swept into a viable industry, it cannot become a movement. Cooking shows have done their bit to popularise traditional dishes but then that’s a very niche market.” Sinha, meanwhile, raises the vital question of our quickly changing sociology, so intrinsically related to what we eat. “There are dichotomies in how we approach indigenous practices,” she says. “Take bhang, for example. It’s banned despite its benefits in age-old practices like adding it to the feed of cattle to increase lactation, but bhang is permitted to be used to make hemp fibre that becomes your Levi’s jeans!”

Food also means an ecological niche. Sinha says, “When we wonder why there isn’t all that much makhana in the market, we need to wonder what happened to all our lakes, which is where it grows,” she says. “There have to be policies and incentives to encourage the production of ingredients that contribute to biodiversity,” adds Sharma. Indeed, one of the issues a serious food enthusiast may have with the book is that a chunk of the ingredients may be difficult to source, dep≠ending on where you live. Says Narain, who plans to take the initiative across the country through food promotions and stirring debates on how biodiversity shows on our plates: “There needs to be a mechanism by which we can source these ingredients locally. You can’t protect anything in the wild till you make it a part of your lifestyle. Urban Indians do appreciate good food—we just need to value what we eat and make links between now and what we ate in the past, and make it a part of our diet, our tab≠les, our kitchens.” The future then lies in a return to the repasts of the past.



Outlook India

August, 2013


Ghillie Jute String improves your Camouflage


When deciding to build a Ghillie suit, the traditional Jute is no longer your only option. The Ultra-Light Synthetic Ghillie string is another option and offers many benefits over the traditional material.


(Newswire.net -- July 31, 2013) Lynden, WA --Traditional jute string and burlap strips have been used for many years as the default material to tie onto your netting when building your Ghillie. Jute string is a good choice but also comes with some drawbacks.

It has a high flammability rating requiring you to apply fire retardant. This can result in a strong chemical smell that you may find unbearable. A quick search on flame retardants can reveal a lot about their chemical nature and the effects it can have on you.

The Synthetic Ghillie String does not require flame retardant. Being naturally flame resistant it is virtually scentless and also non allergenic.The waterproof qualities of the synthetic Ghillie Jute string help keep you from becoming waterlogged when hunting or playing in heavy rain.


Jute is also heavy. A full coverage suit can weight 8 to 10 pounds. Half a pound of Synthetic String equals 1.3 pounds of Jute in volume. This means the weight of your Ghillie suit is cut by more than half!The effectiveness of a Ghillie suit is increased by the addition of local vegetation. When building the suit you are matching the general area you will use the suit in.


Upon arrival at your hunting or scenario gaming area you should fine tune the camouflage pattern by adding some local vegetation. This will add weight to the suit, but you will find out how important this step is in achieving the best camouflage. A light weight suit helps you stay cooler in the heat of summer. The increased mobility will also improve your game.

Go to Miles Tactical for more information on Ghillie Suit Supplies.



Miles Tactical

July 31, 2013



Tk 5.0b SoB credit for jute mills this week


Syful Islam

Government-run jute mills will get Tk 5.0 billion in cash credit this week from four state-owned commercial banks (SoBs) to buy raw materials for the current fiscal year and meet other needs, sources said..

The Sonali Bank and the Janata Bank will provide Tk 1.5 billion each while Agrani Bank and Rupali Bank will provide Tk 1.0 billion each to the mills run by the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), they added. The BJMC will repay all its debts to the banks on receipt of Tk 10 billion from the Ministry of Finance which is expected to be released by August next.


Besides, steps will be taken to make available Tk 5.0 billion from the central bank's refinance scheme in favour of the SoBs to help the jute mills repay their debts. Sources said Jute and Textile Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui in a meeting in the conference room of his ministry last week said the jute procurement season already started but the mills had no fund to spend for the purpose.So, it won't be possible for the state-run mills to buy jute, unless the banks provide necessary funds, he said.


Mr Siddiqui informed the meeting that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assured him of repaying all the dues of the jute mills to the banks by the end of August. Jute and Textile secretary Ashraful Moqbul said apart from buying jute for the current fiscal, Tk 1.5 billion is needed to settle dues under the third phase of implementing the pay commission's recommendations in the BJMC-run mills. Besides, he said, fund is necessary to pay workers due wages and bonuses before the Eid-ul-Fitr.


BJMC officials sought Tk 16.10 billion in cash credit for the jute mills. After threadbare discussion, bank officials agreed to pay Tk 5.0 billion at the request of the minister. The state-run jute mills earned Tk 13.63 billion by exporting jute goods in the just-concluded fiscal year (FY) against Tk 10.84 billion in FY 2011-12 and Tk 9.38 billion in FY 2010-11.


Mr Moqbul told the FE Tuesday that the fund had been arranged from the banks to meet the immediate needs. "Process has already started to release the money in favour of the jute mills." He said, out of 27 state-owned jute mills, 26 are in operation, fully or partially. The remaining Monwar Jute Mills is under the process of starting operation as a paper and pulp mill. "We have asked the BJMC to take necessary steps for reopening the mill immediately," he added.



The Fina Express

July 31, 2013



Jute industry likely to lose Rs 1,000 cr on demand fall


Govt which purchases jute bags at an average price of Rs 52,000 a tonne, has reduced demand


The jute industry fears losing about Rs 1,000 crore due to a drastic cut in the demand for its bags this kharif season. According to industry sources, state food procurement agencies are backing out of commitments, leading to the government curtailing the projected demand. The stand of food procuring agencies follows alleged irregular supplies, high costs and the poor quality of jute bags.

Every year, the Food Corporation of India procures 35-40 per cent of jute bags production (0.8 million tonnes, or mt) on behalf of states such as Punjab, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Bihar. The industry's installed capacity is about 1.5 mt. Though 75 per cent of jute mills are located in West Bengal, the state doesn't have a policy to procure jute bags. Indian Jute Mills Association (Ijma) Chairman Raghav Gupta wasn’t immediately available for comment.


Sanjay Kajaria, managing director, Hastings Jute Mill, and former Ijma chairman said, “The cut in demand is bound to hit the industry. In fact, the impact is already visible in prices, which have dropped 13.46 per cent---from Rs 52,000 a tonne to Rs 45,000 a tonne. Also, hessian (or gunny cloth) prices have fallen 7.69 per cent, from Rs 65,000 to Rs 60,000 a tonne. It seems the government has no sympathy for jute bag manufacturers.”


The fall in demand is also expected to lead to production cuts and job losses. About 4,00,000 industrial workers are engaged in jute mills. An estimated 9.5-10 million bales (a bale is 180 kg) of raw jute are expected to be produced this year. The sector is already burdened with a stock pile of 2.7 million bales.


The industry apprehends most mandatory jute packaging orders would be trimmed, resulting in further losses. Last year, orders were cut 10 per cent for foodgrain and 60 per cent for sugar, in favour of plastic bags. This year, the fall is expected to be 10 per cent and 80 per cent for foodgrain and sugar, respectively. The jute/fibre policy of 2011 has recommended phasing out the mandatory jute packaging order---Jute Packaging Materials Act, 1987---by the 14th five-year Plan. According to the Act, it is compulsory for state procurement agencies to pack sugar and foodgrain in jute bags.



The Business Standard

July 29, 2013



Jute' em up!


ESPADRILLES are to loafers what Uggs are to boots. These canvas shoes with a jute sole ‚€” once merely a Spanish peasant shoe ‚€” has become the footwear of choice for celebrities. For the past few years, this style of shoes has been making its presence felt.


Popstar Beyonce uploaded pics of her striped espadrille sneakers while holidaying with husband Jay-Z in Cuba. Her shoes were from New York-based shoe designer Tabitha Simmons' collection.

Jute soles are what distinguish these shoes from other footwear. Usually flat, some espadrilles are now available in wedges and heels, and sport colourful fronts. Owing to their popularity at street stores and designer boutiques, espadrilles come in many styles such as open-toe, back-open, slip-ons, with tie-up laces or as gladiator sandals. Stylist Pernia Qureshi says that espadrilles are gaining popularity because they are casual and comfy. "These shoes pair perfectly with shorts, dresses, denims and almost anything casual," she says. She recommends women pair wedge espadrilles with a loose-fitting top, cotton shorts and a big tote.

Image consultant Yatan Ahluwalia says that with lighter hues ruling men's fashion this season, espadrilles can be used to add colour to men's attire. "Textured, coloured or striped espadrilles are suitable to get a laidback leisure look," he advises. Bright numbers are best sported with an all-white or muted ensemble. Slip-on and flat espadrilles best suit men.



The Times of India

July 28, 2013


Small venture, huge impact


Sheikh Md Shahidul Islam, Brahmanbaria


The Brahmanbaria Rupali Kutir Shilpo, a small cottege industry enterprise, started by Aklima Akter Shiuly in 2005, has slowly become a source of living for dozens of poor, jobless women and girls.


 Aklima Akter Shiuly, managing director of Rupali Kutir Shilpo, showing carpets made by her enterprise.

Each of them now earn between Tk 2,000 and Tk 5,000 a month by making a variety of mostly jute-based products such as carpets, travel bags and buttons, which have attracted attention of both local and foreign buyers.


Some of the girls in Alkima’s workforce were ditched by the society as they previously worked as prostitutes but later choose to return to normal, respectable life.


Some items made by the business house on display. The products Rupali Kutir Shilpo makes include jute carpets, woollen carpets, cotton carpets, travel bags, jute buttons, cotton buttons, floor mats, wall-mats, showpieces, flower vases, lamp stands, diary covers, and jewellery boxes.


The Rupali Kutir Shilpo offered them work and hopes for a descent living.
The products they make include jute carpet, woolen carpet, cotton carpet, travel bag, jute button, cotton button, yarn button, floor mat, wall-mat, showpiece, flower vase, lamp post, diary cover, and jewelry box.


Aklima, the managing director of Rupali Kutir Shiplpo, said jute carpets are sold at Tk 200 to 50,000 a piece, Jute beg sold at Tk 50 to 400. Such products have strong demand in the Middle East, United Arab Emirates and India.


The jute, cotton and yarn buttons are specially made for “jubba,” a flowing long robe used by most Muslims in Saudi Arabia and other desert countries.


Foreign buyers do not come to shop at the Rupali Kutir in the Brahmanbaria town directly. They have agents in this country who buy and supply to the foreign customers.

Aklima said her enterprise could not meet growing demands for its products due to lack of manpower and fund.


Aklima said she actually started the venture back in 2000 using her sewing and painting skills learnt from her mother. Later she took trainings at the Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD), an autonomous national institution for training, research and experiment on rural development, and also from some NGOs.


In 2005, she officially opened Brahmanbaria Rupali Kutir Shilpo aiming to produce jute based products and give a platform to jobless rural women and socially ostracized girls.

Now 40 women and girls work in the small enterprise.



The Daily Star

July 23, 2013



Private jute mills creating job opportunities in Bogra


Hasibur Rahman Bilu


About 50,000 jobs created in the last eight years:

Private-sector jute mills in Bogra, which saw significant expansion in the last few years, have started offering plenty of job opportunities for the unemployed people of the district. Most of these mills are using second-hand machines bought either from the country’s now-defunct jute factories or from India.


They produce various kinds of jute products and accessories, including sacks and yarn, and sell them at local and international markets.


According to an estimate of Bangladesh Jute Miles Corporation (BJMC), at least 50 jute miles were established in 16 northern districts, including Bogra, in the last few years – with the investment totalling Tk10b. About 50,000 jobs were created in the region’s private jute sector in the last eight years, a BJMC source said. 


Md Fazlur Rahman Paiker, managing director of Paiker Jute Milles Limited, which was established in 2011, said he invested Tk500m in his venture and created more than 700 jobs.


As well as producing for local consumers, he said his company is now producing jute products for international consumers in Europe and the Middle East. Most of his employees, he said, are women.


Nahida Begum, who has a family to care for, said, “I was looking for a way to increase our family’s income and came to learn of this job opening at Paiker’s mill one day. So I joined and my monthly income is now Tk5,000.”


Another woman working at the mill, Reshman Khatun said she is happy to be able to work at a place close to her home and contribute to her family’s income.

Ranu Begum, who used to be a domestic helper, said, “I used to earn only Tk300 every month as a domestic maid. Then I joined a jute factory and started earning Tk5,000 a month.”


Sources said, the average monthly pay for workers in these jute mills ranges from under Tk4,000 to Tk5,000.


However, it is not all roses for the entrepreneurs coming in the sector these days and especially for those competing on an international level.


Paiker said, “I started to expand my operation a few months ago to meet the demand of my foreign buyers, especially those in the Middle East countries. But the business has somewhat slackened lately, because of the unrest in the Middle East and other problems.”


“If this situation continues, I may soon have to temporarily stop operation for foreign buyers,” he said.


Like Paiker’s mills, Hasan Jute Miles Limited, another jute-processing company, also expanded its operations to cater to international markets and is producing export-quality products. It uses second-hand machines bought at cheaper rates from different jute mills in Bangladesh and India. The factory boasts of having created more than 1500 jobs, mostly for women, in the last two and a half years.


ATM Shafiquil Hasan Jewel, managing director of the mill, said he had embarked on a business expansion project with an investment of Tk150m. Prior to that, he said, he had invested Tk260m in the jute mile. “It is our expectation that we will be able to create another 800 jobs once we are fully into the business.”



Dhaka Tribune

July 22, 2013



Exploring new markets to achieve export target



The government set last week the export target at $30.5 billion for the current fiscal year 2013-14, projecting a 12.84 per cent growth over the last fiscal. The target was fixed against the backdrop of the latest situation in international market and several accidents at garment factories such as Rana Plaza collapse that killed more than 1,100 workers resulting in the suspension of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) by the United States.


The ongoing political crisis and infrastructure shortage in the country and recession in the European Union (EU) also contributed to such lower growth target. The industry is also facing several problems including insufficient infrastructure, shortage of power and prolonged political unrest.

The government had set export target at $28 billion - more than 15 per cent growth for FY 2012-13 - but at the end of the year the country's export earnings fell $1.0 billion short of the target standing at $27.01 billion with 11.22 per cent growth.


Though there are some challenges like probable appreciation of taka against the US dollar and slow recovery process of EU economy, the target is achievable, according to what some financial analysts opine. They say woven and knitwear exports will continue to do well in the year. But the country needs to give more emphasis to diversification in products and markets in the year to boost the export growth, they said.


It appears that the government has set the export target this year keeping in view the export trend experienced in the past fiscal year and also possible political unrest in the country as well as global recession. It has emphasise on apparel products which account for about 80 per cent of the country's export earnings, agricultural products, leather and leather products, jute and jute products and shrimp export to achieve the target. The government is also encouraging exporters from other sectors to take pro-active initiative to boost export of their products. It hopes that the growth would continue to increase in the current fiscal year in line with the gradual growth of export earnings in the last few years.


Meantime, leaders of different exporters' associations have demanded immediate development of communication infrastructure, increased supply of gas and power, improvement of port facilities and removal of setbacks exporters are facing in exports to different countries.

All the major export products, including top export items like woven and knitwear products, have been projected to grow. The ministry set a target to earn $12.57 billion with 13.87 per cent growth from woven garment export, $11.58 billion with 10.50 per cent growth from knitwear, $1.16 billion with 12.89 per cent growth from jute and jute goods, $831.10 million with 5.0 per cent growth from home textiles, $545.12 million with 30 per cent growth from footwear, $578.77 million with 6.42 per cent growth from frozen foods, $643.78 million with 20.17 per cent growth from agricultural products, $407.11 million with 10.79 per cent growth from engineering products and $132.21 million with 6.17 per cent growth from specialised textiles products export.

The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) has undertaken a plan to promote the country's new potential items abroad besides major export items including readymade garments (RMG), jute, shrimp and leather. But the country's export basket is risky as a few items are dominating Bangladesh's entire export. Some potential products have been identified to promote abroad to widen the export basket. Such potential products are printing and packaging, furniture, electronics, shipbuilding, plastic and light engineering. The EPB will soon send trade representatives to Latin America, Africa, Russia and two or three countries in South Asia to explore markets there.


A stable shipbuilding industry can help maintain export growth. Shipbuilding can be a good alternative to any industry including garments because it has a link with backward linkage industry that can create extra market if nurtured properly. Shipbuilding industry can always be a dependable industrial sector.


It is good to see that the country's one of the largest electronic manufacturing plants, Walton, has exported its electronic goods to 17 countries including the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, North Sudan, Tanzania, Myanmar and Iran. There is also a huge market for local auto parts. Bangladesh can earn a large amount of foreign exchange by exporting such goods. In fact, the EPB should go for research-based promotion in offshore market to explore more export destinations for country's potential exportables. At present, the EPB is working with the Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Centre (BITAC) to upgrade our products' standard up to the international level.


Country's export to comparatively slow and new markets achieved a significant growth in the just-concluded fiscal year thanks to cash incentive and other proactive initiatives of the government. The countries where exports from Bangladesh are comparatively poor, ranging between US$ 0.1 million to ess $ 30 million, are considered new or slow destinations. During the last FY, export to those destinations grew up to 193 per cent whereas the overall export fell by 3.51 per cent against target.


There are ample opportunities in the comparatively new markets but for lack of proper knowledge and efforts both from the local businesses and the government, these have so far remained undiscovered. It has been found that the importers of African, Russian and some other countries are eager to import items like RMG, leather products and jute goods from Bangladesh.

It is expected that the country's exports would further be broadened to the African and Russian territories if the government allows the same cash incentive to such items as RMG. Besides the African and Russian countries, some Asian and Middle Eastern nations are also prospective destinations for local exports where the government's effort is badly needed. - See more at:



The Financial Express

July 21, 2013



Desi fibre making noise


Jute, the eco-friendly fibre has become a fashion statement. Take a look at jute products made in Madurai and sold across borders


Some of the jute products made in Madurai. Photo: A. Shrikumar

Bundles of jute, half-a-dozen tailoring machines with women working on them and mounds of finished jute products make Janaki’s modest house in Surya Nagar look like a mini factory on the inside. She proudly calls it a ‘unit’ where jute bags, mats and pillows are made in express speed and expert designs. Selvi, an employee, sits in a corner silently cutting the fabric into pieces for making handbags. “This job has given me self-esteem, regular income and a livelihood,” she says and is happy that her bags and pouches are reaching overseas customers.


In over 15 such ‘home units’ in and around Madurai, a silent eco-friendly revolution is brewing where women have taken a resort in jute against plastics and polythene. While some export the products through dealers, others promote the use of the fibre among their neighbourhood and friends. But each is making a difference. Two years ago Janaki started with a single machine and two people. Now she supplies to a couple of dealers regularly besides the individual orders. Bulk requirements take three weeks to complete while the smaller items go out in a day or two. The raw material is fetched from Bangalore and Kolkata every three months.


Janaki says her ‘thamboola pais’ and album bags are a hit. Wall hangings, embroidered surukku pais, cell phone pouches and yoga accessories are the other items she makes.

“The market for jute made yoga accessories in Europe and America is booming,” says Ganesh from Dwarak Exports. “Jute is seen as a symbol of India in foreign countries and our bags have become a style statement there,” he adds.


Yoga pillows, mats, rugs and bags are the items exported. “People like Indian ethnic prints such as the ‘Om’ and ‘mantras’ or ‘kolams’ on the yoga bags. Animal and flower print on beach bags is the current trend,” he says.


Ganesh rues the lack of awareness and acceptance of jute in the domestic market. “Though jute is the lone eco-friendly, recyclable and versatile replacement to plastic, it’s not picked by many as it is expensive. It will take time for people to embrace jute as a day-to-day utility product,” he says.


Ganesh sources his orders from five different units and exports them to Netherlands and Dubai. “The demand is increasing. We are currently working on making jute products completely eco-friendly by using natural dyes and vegetable colours.”


Bags made in jute are big time favourites among all classes of people. Coming in all sizes, shapes and colours, it has become a craze among young and old women. Shopping bags, beach bags, wine bags, handbags, purses and pouches are the fast moving items.


“It’s difficult to sell jute products at a cheaper rate as the process is labour intensive and incurs a lot of fibre wastage. To it add the transportation cost,” says Manjula, who started the jute business with her friend Gayatri. Both work from their drawing room at Andalpuram and supply exclusive products to individuals. Flower vases, photo frames, vanity kits and wall hangings are their specialities. “We also make hand-made eco-friendly wooden jewellery and give them along with the jute items to promote the fabric,” says Manjula.


For people like Gayatri who promote the product within the known circles, jute is not a year-round business. “The demand is seasonal. Orders are more during Christmas, marriage season and festivals when people give gifts,” says Gayatri. Exhibitions conducted by trade unions are the other avenues where these women sell the jute goods.



There is no dearth of innovation and design. Sudha John of Annai Women’s Self Help Group, an 18-member team that runs a jute unit at Bethaniapuram, says, “Four years back, we started with a few orders of surukku pais to be given during Kolu festival. We tried new things like milk bags to be hung on gates, door mats and grocery bags.” “Jute made lunch boxes and pencil pouches are a hit among the area’s kids. We plan to open a boutique soon,” beams Sudha.


Uma who runs a full-fledged manufacturing place at Chokkalinga Nagar, says, “One of our major innovations was jewellery pouches with cotton lining. Today, we supply to many leading jewellery brands in southern districts.” The unit employs 10 women and delivers up to 100 bags per day. Stationeries like files, folders, pen stands and laptop nags are also supplied to corporate and colleges in Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Sivakasi, Chennai and Nagercoil. “We recently erected a jute hoarding for a wedding in Salem. We are working on expanding such possibilities,” says Uma.


Short takes:

Jute is obtained from Corchorus plant that is found in abundance in West Bengal, Assam and parts of Andhra Pradesh. Raw jute costs Rs. 45 per meter and the coloured varieties may range from Rs. 80 to Rs. 150 per meter. Finished products are sold at a profit of 25 to 30 per cent.


The fabric is cut in required shapes and sizes and is stitched on machines using thicker cotton threads. Blends like jute cotton and jute canvas are also used for bags and pouches.


Logos, patterns and designs are mostly screen-printed and rarely hand-painted with chemical dyes or natural colours. Embroidery, patch work and stone embellishments are also being done on jute products. In Madurai, jute making units are spread over Thirumangalam, Narimedu, Andalpuram, Kadachanendal, Kalavasal and Kochadai.

Keywords: Jute productseco-friendly fibrejute bagsjute fashionJanaki



The Hindu

July 17, 2013



Export target set at $30.5bn for FY14


Ibrahim Hossain Ovi Commerce


Political unrest, pre-election violence, shrinking global demand are the challenges

The government has set an export target of US$30.5bn for the current financial year (2013-14), giving focus on the traditional export items. The estimate is 12.84% higher than previous fiscal’s target of $28bn or 13% over the previous fiscals export earnings of $27bn.


Priority has been given to readymade garment, woven, knitwear, leather, agricultural products, shrimp, jute and jute-goods in achieving export target for the current fiscal.

The export target was fixed at a meeting at the Ministry of Commerce on Wednesday, with the secretary in the chair. Representative from Bangladesh Bank, National Board of Revenue, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, BASIS, EPB, BGMEA, BKMEA and Ministry of Livestock were present.


Participants at the meeting stressed on infrastructural development with increased port facilities, training for woven and knitwear workers, removing constraints in shrimp culture, continuation of incentives to enhance export growth.


In the last fiscal year, Bangladesh’s exports rose by 11% to more than $27bn, despite political upheaval, labour unrests and global economic slowdown.


However, it fell 3.5% short of the target set for fiscal year 2012-13 ended on June 30, according to latest data of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) of Bangladesh.


The growth of the fiscal year was driven by woven garments that surged 14.96% to over $11bn and knitwear garment exports 10.43% to over $10bn.


For the current fiscal year, the export growth for knitwear estimated at 15.5%, woven garments13.87%, frozen foods at 6.42%, shrimps at 5%, agriculture products 20.17%, manufactured commodities at12.83%, leather at 15%, leather products at 30%, jute and jute products at 12.89%, footwear 25%, ships, boats, and floating structures at 10%, and home textile 5%.


“The government has set the export target for the current fiscal through consultation with all the stakeholders. The target is achievable,” Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed told the Dhaka Tribune. “We took the decision considering our last five years of experience on export growth.”  He said the export growth is on the rise and the trend will continue also in the current fiscal.


Md Amin Ullah, president of Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association (BFFEA), said the target is quite achievable as it adds a few compared to the previous one. 

He stressed the need for strict monitoring along the border to stop smuggling of hilsa fish to achieve the export target and urged the government not to withdraw 2.5% cash incentives from shrimp sector. He also urged the government to allow restarting export of frozen hilsa fish. 


“Political unrests and frequent hartals are great threat in the way of achieving 12.84% export growth,” said SM Mannan Kochi, second vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). He urged the government as well as all political parties to shun violent politics for the sake of the country’s development.


“The export target is attainable, if the government extends hands to cooperate in relocating tanneries and to set up effluent treatment plant,” said Belal Hossain, chairman of Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters’ Association.


“12.84% export growth target is not much to attain, but we have to keep in mind that this year will be more volatile because it is the last year of this government,” said Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of Exporters Association of Bangladesh.

“The big challenge for us is to ensure compliance in all sectors, including workers safety as we are on pressure from international buyers and rights organisations,” he added. He also emphasised on proper implementation of the policy supports taken by the government. 



Dhaka Tribune

July 18, 2013



Tk 6714.66 cr earned thru exporting raw jute, jute goods in 2011-2012: Jute Minister


DHAKA: Textiles and Jute Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui on Tuesday said in Parliament that Bangladesh earned Tk 1906.76 crore exporting raw jutes while Tk 4569.42 crore through exporting jute products to 69 countries of the world in 2010-2011 fiscal year.


“The countries are UAE, Albania, Argentina, Australia, Benin, Brazil, Belarus, Canada, Switzerland, China, France, UK, Italy, Japan, Indonesia, Poland, Pakistan, Thailand and Russia,’ he said this while responding to a tabled question of lawmaker M Shahriar Alam (Rajshahi-6).

Siddiqui also said the country produced around 7 lakh metric tonnes of jute products and the products were exported to 105 countries in the same fiscal year.

Responding to another question of lawmaker Begum Nilufar Chowdhury Moni (Women Seat-37), Latif Siddiqui said Bangladesh earned Tk 1540.66 crore through exporting raw jute while Tk 5174 crore by exporting jute products in 2011-2012 fiscal year putting the total jute exports to Tk 6714.66 crore.



The Independent

July 16, 2013



Jute finds a special place in ‘Cotton and Silk mela’


Jute and coir normally bring fancy handbags, wall hangings and artefacts to mind, but there seems to be more to it now.


The ‘Cotton and Silk Mela 2013’, currently on at Sri Thyagaraja Mandapam in Tirupati under the aegis of Lepakshi, the flagship brand of Andhra Pradesh Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited, is witness to the rising number of takers for impressive and eye-catching products made of jute.


Cotton garments intricately woven with jute thread and fibre have turned out to be the highlight at the mela. Shirts, kurtis and tops of vivid hues have vibrant designs with bountiful use of jute fibre.


“We have participated in such expos in Tirupati in the past, but the response is quite good this time,” says Rathindra Nath Biswas of Nakshi Pat Kendra, which has its lone production centre in Nimta, Kolkata. The patronage down south is however not quite encouraging, compared to north and east, he avers. “Jute was never considered an option in clothing in the past, but the taste of consumers is changing slowly,” admitted K. Vani, a visitor who bought a couple of kurtis for her daughter.


Similarly, the sofa set and ‘diwan’ covers woven with jute thread, sell in encouraging numbers at the neighbouring stall. Nadeem Khan from Panipat (Haryana), a first timer at the Lepakshi expo, said that sofa set covers made of jute were selling in equal numbers as the regular ones.

The expo closes on July 21 (Sunday).



The Hindu

July 15, 2013



Private jute industry may get funding


'Adequate fund is required for private jute factories to reduce burden of bank loans from them'

The government is planning to pump funds into the country’s ailing jute industry in private sector, said official sources.


Workers of a Jute mill are continuing their regular job

In a recent letter to finance minister, Jute Minister Abdul Latif Siddique wrote: “Adequate fund is required for private jute factories to reduce burden of bank loans from them.” The letter placed five recommendations in this regard.


Jute Minister indicated the fact that 30m people are directly and indirectly involved with the sector which critically demands attention.


The letter recommends the government giving blocked account facilities to private jute factories against bank loans and interests since July 30, 2011. The facilities include pre-payment of loans with the interest rate at 8-10%.


As per recommendations, the government will also provide 30% grant to purchase machineries from aboard. The Indian government, too, has arranged such facilities for jute industry in private sector, said the letter.


The letter recommends Bangladesh Bank provide Tk0.50 incentive against each dollar earning from the export of jute products while commercial banks will give current capital at 7% interest.


Jute Ministry’s letter mentions total principle amount of loan stood at over Tk10bn taken from different commercial banks. The ministry urged government to block the loan accounts for 30 months and set payment period at 10 years.


Official data show export earnings from jute products dropped to $283m in fiscal 2008-09 from $318m in previous year. The 2006 earning from jute exports was around $321m while the just concluded fiscal year also witnessed a 21% decline in export of jute goods exports as the destination countries were going financial meltdown.  



Dhaka Tribune

July 15, 2013


Carry-over stocks, low demand may put pressure on raw jute prices


An estimated five-seven per cent rise in raw jute production; higher carry-over stocks and an anticipated drop in demand for sacking from sugar and food grain industry, is likely to exert pressure on raw jute prices this year. Raw jute prices (TD5 variety) have dropped by nearly 13 per cent in the last three months.  Prices are hovering around Rs 2,700-2,800 a quintal currently, down from Rs 3,200 in April. According to Raghav Gupta, Chairman of Indian Jute Mills’ Association, sowing was down by 5-10 per cent this year in most parts of North and South Bengal and Assam.


South Bengal districts of Murshidabad and Nadia together account for almost 60 per cent of the country’s total jute production. “Despite a lower sowing, production is estimated to be 5-7 per cent higher this year on account of a better yield aided by good weather conditions and rains,” Gupta told Business Line. Area under jute cultivation was also down by 11 per cent to eight lakh hectares this year. Raw jute cultivation typically happens on an area of about nine lakh hectare and Bengal accounts for almost 67 per cent of the total area under cultivation.

Sluggish demand.


The carry-over stock is close to 27 lakh bales this year. The high carry-over stocks was primarily due to sluggish demand and poor procurement by food grains industry during the rabi season (mid November to April), Gupta said. The likelihood of a further dilution in the mandatory Jute Packaging Materials Act (JPMA) of 1987 for packing food grain and sugar might further suppress the demand.


JPMA provides for mandatory use of jute bags for packaging of food grain and sugar up to 100 per cent by the Government procurement agencies. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had allowed for 60 per cent and 10 per cent dilution in the JPMA for packing sugar and food grain respectively in 2012-13.


The industry produces nearly 16-18 lakh tonnes of jute bags and clothes annually. Of this, about 35-40 per cent is purchased by the Food Ministry on behalf of different State food procuring agencies and the Food Corporation of India. According to industry insiders the Cabinet might approve further dilution in JPMA to the extent of 20-30 per cent for food grains and up to 80 per cent for sugar.


“We are yet to get information on this (dilution) but a further dilution looks most likely this year,” Gupta said.


shobha.roy@thehindu.co.in  Keywords: Carry-over stockslow demandraw jute priceslower sowing



The Business Line

July 14, 2013




Jute sacks for packaging food products


Enforcing compulsory use of jute sacks for packing, especially food grains, has for long been viewed as a critically important matter for a variety of reasons. In the wake of the global hype on the use of environment friendly, biodegradable natural materials in as much areas as possible, it was highly likely that Bangladesh, being the producer of world's finest variety of natural fibre -- jute, would make the best use of it to draw benefits in tangible economic terms. Unfortunate as it is, this has not happened so far mainly because of stray efforts.  The government had framed a law on the use of jute sacks in 2010, but in the absence of rules to be followed, it was largely ignored. Lately, however, a set of rules for implementation of the law has been formulated which, among others, seeks to ensure use of jute sacks in packaging food grains. The initiative meant to be strictly complied with, will no doubt go beyond environmental security. Observers believe that it will ensure better price for jute growers and jute goods manufacturers, currently facing a deepening slump, in view of the likely growth in demand. The rules already published in government gazette will come into force in August. Meant for compliance by both public and private sectors, the rules will also be applicable to imported food grains.

While there should not be any arguing the merit of the move, the important issue lies in the adequate availability of jute sacks, and needles to say, in the likely event of non-availabilty, the entire exercise is sure to be stuck with no move ahead. This aspect of framing laws and rules disregarding the ground realities has been so common to the country's governance culture that one can very rightly feel sceptical whether execution of the rules on use of jute sacks in packaging can at all be made compulsory. On the other hand, the pretext for inadequate supply, in the absence of proper record of available stock, can also be a potential deterrent to the implementation of the rules.


The Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA) has expressed a note of concern saying the industry at the moment cannot take full advantage of the compulsory packaging law, as there is shortage of sacks. Of the 300 million pieces of jute sacks presently produced by public and private jute mills a year, 100 million pieces are reportedly exported. Three state agencies -- Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation, Directorate General of Food, Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation -- have reportedly started using jute sacks. But the private sector businesses including rice millers, flour processors and sugar refiners are reluctant to use sacks as the price of jute sacks is higher than polypropylene bags, which they fear will add to the retail cost of food grains at the consumer level. However, there are counter arguments in view of the repeat use that can be made of jute sacks. As a starter, it would be imperative for the authorities to determine the quantities of food grains likely to be packed by jute sacks and the country's current production of sacks in order to initiate a planned action aimed at enforcing the rules.



Financial Express

July 13, 2013


Jute exports take a hit from steep fall in India’s rupee



Sohel Parvez

Bangladesh has seen a decline in exports of jute and jute goods to India, one of the major markets, as the rupee’s slide has pushed the neighbouring nation’s import costs up.

“Our orders have dried up over the last several months,” said Kaihan Rahman, deputy managing director of Pubali Jute Mills, a leading exporter to India. “Even if they [Indian buyers] wish to place orders, they quote prices which are unacceptable to us.” The rupee fell 15 percent against the dollar in the last one year, according to Gopi Kishon Sureka, chief executive of Fiber ‘N Fibre, an exporter of jute products. “This has been very unkind to us.” The development comes at a time when markets in the Middle East have been shrinking amid sanctions against Iran by the Western nations and protracted political turmoil in Syria and Egypt. The Eurozone recession, too, had an impact. The dollar traded at Rs 59.64 yesterday, which was Rs 54.73 on January 1, meaning the Indian currency lost 9.04 percent in value in 2013 alone.


In contrast, the local taka gained against the dollar, due to increased foreign exchange reserves and lower imports. The taka advanced 2.5 percent to Tk 77.75 against the dollar since January 2013.

Sujit Bhattacharyya Laxman, owner of Uttara Jute Traders, said: “We shipped our last consignment to India in May. We have not received any order since.”Meanwhile, Sureka said the weakening of the Indian currency has been a boon for Indian exporters, while the appreciation of the taka a disincentive for local exporters.“The Indian exporters are offering lower prices for their products than ours, which is forcing us to reduce our prices to stay in competition.” Sureka fears the situation might get worse owing to a possible fall in prices of jute goods, influenced by increased supply from the new mills that are on way.Already, the prices of jute yarn, jute bags and other jute products have reached the lowest in four years. “But the costs of production inputs and wage rate have increased.”

He urged the government not to reduce the cash incentives for exports of jute yarn to help the sector weather the bad time. Jute and jute good exports rose 6.54 percent year-on-year to $1.03 billion in fiscal 2012-13, according to data from the Export Promotion Burea



Daily Star

July 12, 2013


Jute exports hit billion-dollar mark in FY'12


Monira Munni
Income from exports of jute and jute products again crossed the US$ 1.0-billion mark in the just-out fiscal as new markets did well, official data showed. The exports first hit the billion-dollar mark in 2010-11 financial year (FY). Exporters and officials said earnings from jute and jute goods registered a remarkable growth following increasing demand for natural fibre-made products across the world.

Data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) said the country's earnings from the jute and jute goods stood at $1.01 billion during the FY 2012-13 marking a growth of 6.54 per cent compared to that of previous fiscal 2011-12. Earnings from the sector were $967.38 million in FY 2011-12, $1.11 billion in FY 2010-11, $787.99 million in FY 2009-10 and $417.42 million in FY 2008-09.

During the July-June period of FY 2012-13, earnings from jute yarn and twine earned $506.74 million marking a 8.24 per cent growth while that of from jute sacks and bags stood at $237.42 million with a robust growth of 28.16 per cent. However, the raw jute export decreased by over 13 per cent with the earnings of 229.92 million compared to that of previous fiscal. It also fell short of target by 23.86 per cent.Earnings from jute sacks and bags surpassed the target by 13.84 per cent.

The EPB data, however, showed the overall earnings from the jute sector in the just-concluded fiscal fell short of targets by 4.80 per cent. Despite failure in achieving the target, a senior EPB official said exports grew following a good performance in the new markets like Thailand, Vietnam and China.

Export is also increasing in the traditional market like Turkey, he added. "The export earnings grew from the sector because of high demand for natural fibre made products following a ban on plastic products, especially plastic bags in some countries," Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association Chairman Md Shams-uz-Zoha told the FE.

Managing Director of Creation Pvt Ltd Rashedul Karim Munna said demand for diversified jute products especially for used for packaging, house furnishing and house hold are in the high demand following the campaign for natural fibre made and environment-friendly products.

Secretary of Bangladesh Jute Mills Association Abdul Barik Khan said the mandatory jute packaging act, which also raised the local consumption of jute and jute products, has also an impact on the growth of export. He said the price of jute and jute products was high during the last fiscal compared with a year ago. Industry people said the jute bag export increased as some new jute bag-manufacturing units were set up in the country in private sector. The factories went into operation in the last couple of years and entered into export market. The sources said the earning from jute yarn and twine is increasing as the number of spinning mills in the country rose to about 90 recently from 24 earlier. Jute spinners mainly export jute yarn to Turkey, Iran, Belgium, Syria, China and India.

However, the industry leaders stressed diversified products that have huge demand in the global market.
They also sought the government's policy support including increasing the cash subsidy for the sector, organising more fairs, explore new markets and their desired designs, exchange of delegations to increase the export earnings.



Financial Express

July 11, 2013



Jute mills face cartelisation charges, get CCI notice


Indian Jute Mills Association represents 34 of the 83 operating mills in the country. Among these, 54 are in West Bengal


The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has sent showcause notices to all member-mills and officebearers of the Indian Jute Mills Association (Ijma), the apex body of the jute industry, for alleged violation of the Competition Act of 2002.


Ijma represents 34 of the 83 operating mills. Among these, 54 are in West Bengal. The members and officebearers are to reply through filing of affidavits within two weeks from the date of the notice. The officebearers will have to appear in person before the Commission. Ijma chairman Raghav Gupta said, “We will furnish a reply to the  notice within the due date. The allegations are totally baseless.” Gupta added the notices would not impact supply commitments.

The Indian Sugar Mills Association (Isma), had accused Ijma of violating Section 3 and Section 4 of the Competition Act by  cartelising, manipulating and rigging prices to exploit consumers of jute bags. Ijma is also accused of creating an anti-competitive market, thereby limiting technical progress and development. CCI found substance in the allegation and investigated the matter.


The Commission concluded that Ijma and its members had contravened provisions in sub-section 1 and 2 of Section 3 of the Act. The sugar association further alleged the jute body was hand-in-glove with the Gunny Trades Association (GTA), a merchant body engaged to offer daily price quotes of jute goods, especially gunny bags.

According to the recent notice issued by Saroj Kumar Gupta, deputy director-general (law) of CCI, the Commission has concluded that Ijma members and officebearers had contravened Section 3 of the Act and its clauses. The accused will have to disprove the charges against them.


The notices will also assess the role played by Ijma and its officebearers under Section 41 (2), 36 (2) and 48 (1) of the Act. The notices were sent on the basis of a case filed against Ijma and GTA by Isma, All India Flat Tape Manufacturers Association and National Federation of Co-operative Sugar Factories on August 2, 2011.

In 1998 and 2002, the government exempted the cement and fertiliser sector from packing their materials in jute bags. In the agricultural season of 2012-13, the sugar industry was allowed to pack 60 per cent of its materials in plastic bags. In 2013-14, the jute Standing Advisory Committee has raised this  to 80 per cent.



Business Standard

July 10, 2013



Jute goods ends up on Jodia Bazaar


The trading in jute goods twine ended up on Jodia Bazaar here on Tuesday. The following changes were noted.

JUTE GOODS TWINE (Per kg): 20X3 brown finished higher by Rs 6 to Rs 93, 16x3 CRT/Indus moved upward by Rs 6 to Rs 93, 8x3 went higher by Rs 15 to Rs 145 and 40x2 brown closed upward by Rs 4 to Rs 87.


HESSIAN CLOTH (Per 91.44 meter): 45x10 Amin was quoted at Rs 2,900 and 45x11 was also quoted at Rs 3000.



Business Recorder

July 10, 2013




DAE estimates bumper jute production in northern region


The farmers did not face any problems in procuring quality jute seeds:


Officials of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) are predicting a bumper production of jute in the northern region despite the cultivated area being less than that targeted for the year, reports BSS.


The department’s horticulture specialist, Khandker Md Mesbahul Islam, said: “Excellent jute production is expected following favourable climatic conditions and adoption of the latest farming techniques.”


The DAE data shows that for the current season, the farmers have cultivated jute on 220,333 hectares of land in the region, which is 4,910 hectares less than the targeted. The production target was 2,400,127 bales of which 2,203,371 bales were to be of Tosha variety to be grown on 202,144 hectares; 174,291 bales of native variety from 20,376 hectares and 22,465 bales of Mechhta jute from 2,723 hectares of land.


However, farmers have cultivated Tosha variety on 202,880 hectares, native variety on 13,281 hectares and Mechhta variety on 4,172 hectares of land this season.

DAE sources also said the farmers did not face any problems in procuring quality jute seeds as Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation and other concerned organisations ensured sufficient supply.


Associate Director Agriculture of BRAC International (South Asia and Africa) Dr MA Mazid said jute farming had gained a new dimension following increased exports, revival of closed jute mills, disbursement of incentives and other effective steps taken by the government.


“The farmers have started adopting the latest line sowing jute technology using seed sowing machines, resulting in savings of the quantity of seeds required and reducing farming costs to get bumper production and increased profits in recent years,” he added.


DAE sources said farmers are cultivating jute using the six-line pick up jute seeding method that requires only 2kg seeds to cover an acre of land. The traditional method required sowing 2.5-3.5kg of seeds for the same area.


The department’s deputy director, Feroz Ahmed, said, “Farmers have started becoming more interested in cultivating jute as the industry is seeing a resurgence due to the increased demand for the eco-friendly fibre in the international markets.”



Tribune Online Report Bangladesh

July 8, 2013




Jute yarn exports see tough time in FY13 for Eurozone crisis



Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data show the export earnings from jute yarn remained at the same level of previous fiscal year about $465m


Despite an increase in the prices of raw jute as well as the manufacturing cost of jute yarn in the fiscal 2012-13, the country’s jute yarn exporters are facing losses as the international prices keep falling due to unrest in the Middle East and the Eurozone crisis. Although the total earnings from jute yarn export are expected to stand higher than in the previous fiscal, the price per unit has been in the downtrend over the same period, observed industry insiders.


Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data show the export earnings from jute yarn remained at the same level as previous fiscal year, at about $465m. The industry insiders, however, noted that the figure looks high due to the huge increase of export in India and China at a lower price compared to the prices obtained while exporting yarns to the Middle Eastern and the Eurozone countries.


The demand from the most valued buyers of Bangladeshi yarn and twine, that include Turkey, Syria and Iran, have come down sharply over the last couple of years, leading to the partial relocation of the country’s export to Indo-China, but with a lower profit, they observed.


Bangladesh Jute Spinners Corporation (BJSA) Secretary Shahidul Karim told UNB that the carpet weaving industries in Turkey Syria and Iran have reduced carpet production in the face of the recent political unrest in the Middle East and the economic recession in the Eurozone.


“The carpet-weaving countries are the main buyers of yarn. The carpet weaving industry in Turkey is reported to have cut the operation by 60%. The industries in Syria and Iran are also in a bad shape,” he said, “Carpet is a luxurious item… you can’t expect people to buy carpets in time of economic hardship as posed by the Eurozone crisis.”


“We’ve not been able to finalise the figures of the total yarn exports in the immediate past fiscal. But the export to Syria is expected to stand at 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes, while to Iran at 30,000 to 35,000 tonnes,” said Karim, adding that the figures were much higher just four years back – about 30,000 tonnes for Syria and about 60,000 tonnes for Iran.


“The fall in the export to the Middle East has been recovered by the increase in export to India and China, but not to the full extent as India and China offer lower prices,” he added.


Within a scale of four-five years, the yarn export to India has creased from about 2,500 tonnes to about 50,500 tonnes. For China, it increased from about 2,000 tonnes to about 55,000 tonnes, according to BJSA records.


BJSA Chairman Muhammad Shams-uz Zoha said: “The buyers of India are also becoming reluctant about paying us prices as high as before due to the devaluation of the Rupee (Indian currency) against the US dollar.”


Besides, the country’s yarn exporters are also facing a lower exchange rate of the US dollar with the Taka, as it has got appreciated against the greenback, he added.

“The yarn exporters are facing a cut in the profit due to many other reasons, including the increase in raw jute prices by 20%, transport cost by 20%, machine parts prices by 10%, jute batching oil (JBO) prices by 10% and the labour cost by 10%,” Zoha said.



Tribune Online Report Economy

July 7, 2013




Jute mills might face ban, stricter action on supply default


Jute Commissioner noted some millsregularly delayed or defaulted on supplies:


Jute mills defaulting on supplies of bags to Food Corporation of India (FCI) could face a two-year ban if the recommendations of the Jute Commissioner (JC) are accepted. The ban was recommended by the JC at the previous meeting of the standing advisory committee (SAC) on jute recently. He noted some millsregularly delayed or defaulted on supplies.


"Around 15 mills might face the ban. The JC has also favoured inclusion of a higher penalty clause in the contract between the mills and the director general of supplies and disposal (DGSD)," said a source in the JC office. The DGS&D would give an action taken report to the government. The jute industry faces accusations of supplying poor quality jute bags. The Competition Commission of India is probing the industry on its practices.


Annually, FCI procures 35-40 per cent of all jute bags. The current price of one tonne of jute bags is Rs 56,000 or Rs 3,700/100 bags. FCI purchases the bags on behalf of state food procuring agencies for packing foodgrain. Every year, the government spends around Rs 5,600 crore to purchase the bags. The jute industry manufactures around 1.1 million tonnes of bags, against an installed capacity to produce 1.5 mt.


At the SAC meet, most stakeholders were against continuing with 100 per cent use of jute bags for packing foodgrain and sugar in 2013-14. The JC suggested de-reserving the mandatory use under the Jute Packaging Materials Act by 10 per cent in the case of foodgrain and 80 per cent in the case of sugar packing.

Last year, irregular supply of jute bags had led to law and order problems in Madhya Pradesh. The Haryana and Maharashtra governments also favoured use of plastic bags, due to irregular supply. Jute bag prices are fixed on a 12-year formula worked out by the Tariff Commission. During this period, the government disallowed cost escalation on half the items necessary for production of bags.

These include stores, repairs, overhead, other packing, depreciation, interest and return.



Business Standard

July 4, 2013



Jute mill on the verge of closure


Proprietors of CM Jute Mill have started the process of closing down the factory, citing losses due to irregular energy supply, expensive electricity demand charge and the lack of incentives from the government.


The factory employs 500 individuals and produces 22 tonnes of jute every day. “Due to the government’s apathy, we are not in a position to operate the factory,” said Nandu Rathi, proprietor of the factory. “We found it worthwhile to shutter it down instead of incurring millions of rupees of losses.”


He said energy problems and increased labour costs have been a big burden for the factory, which has been incurring losses for the last five years.


Local industrialists said other jute factories will also be forced to close down if the government fails to provide regular energy supply, export incentive, spare parts and store material. There are 11 jute mills in operation in the country. Failing to compete in the Indian market due to higher operation costs, two jute mills have already been closed down.


Rajkumar Golchha, central chairman of Nepal Jute Industry Association (NJIA), said all jute industries will ultimately close down is the current problems are not solved. “The government should introduce incentive packages in the upcoming budget for jute industries that have been employing thousands of individuals,” he said, adding the exemption of customs duty and value added tax (VAT) on the import of spare parts and store materials should be continued, and similar exemption should be given on diesel and furnace oil used operate generator during load-shedding.


Although the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies had promised to offer a 10 percent cash incentive on the export of jute items to India, no jute factory has received the facility so far, according to industrialists.


Stating that the Bangladeshi government offers a 10 percent cash incentive on the export of jute items, the industrialists said domestic jute products could become competitive in the international market if the Nepal government offers a similar facility.

Golchha said jute factories export more than 95 percent of their products, amounting to Rs 5 billion, to India annually on an average.


Mohan Chandra Ghimire, a jute expert, said the factories could also get some relief if the dependence on imported raw materials could be minimised by increasing the production of jute in the local level.


The industries are forced to import more than 70 percent raw materials from India and Bangladesh. “An institutional provision is required for the development and expansion of jute farming in the country,” he said.




30 June 2013




Jute sector explores advantage of carbon credit



Transition to a more sustainable bio-based economy, as a political consequence of the Kyoto protocol on global climate change (UN FCC, 1997), includes a shift of feedstock for energy and chemical industries from petrochemical to renewable resources. The use of non-food crops as major source for renewable resources, however, requires careful consideration of the environ-mental impact. 


It is a good sign that also industries have by now recognised that the concept of "eco-efficiency" is an important way for businesses to contribute to sustainable development (Lawn 2001). As a major renewable resource lignocellulosic fibres derived from the structural plant tissues will play an important role in this transition. 


Jute (Corchorus capsularis & Corcho-rus olitorius), is lignocellulosic, vegetable bast fibre plant next to cotton in importance. Depending on demand, price and climate, the annual production of jute and allied fibres in the world around 3.5 million tons. The fibre finds its use in the producing as well as in consuming countries in the agricultural, industrial, commercial and domestic fields. 


Sacking and Hessians (Burlap) constitute the bulk of the manufactured products. Sacking is commonly used as packaging material for various agricultural and industrial commodities. Fine Hessian is used as carpet backing and often made into big bags for packaging other fibres viz. cotton and wool. Diversified uses of jute as technical fiber and in natural fiber composites (NFC) are enormous. 


Bangladesh and India produce about 95% of world jute and these two countries are comparatively low CO2 emitting countries. Forestry is one of the three major sectors in which the GHGs can be reduced through CDM mechanism. Jute cultivation could be regarded as a forestation and reforestation. Total area of jute, kenaf and allied fibres cultivation is around 1.5 million hectare. 


One hectare of jute plants consumes about 15 MT CO2 and liberates 11 MT of O2 in only 120 days. Whereas, the tropical tree plantations of pine and eucalyptus can sequester an aver-age of 33 MT of CO2 per hectare per year. The total amount of CO2 consumed per year is about 22.5 million tons which is equivalent to 22.5 million CER. 


At the rate of 15 Euro/ton of CO2 the total value is 337.5 million Euros, equivalents to 448.9 million USD. Estimated revenue per ha out of jute cultivation is about 299 USD equivalents to 23,322 BDT. However, due to emission of small amount of CH4 at the time of retting a little amount will be deducted. 


Jute crops incorporate 5.43 million tons of dry leaves per year to the soil during defoliation stage prior to retting. Through such Green maturing process soil is enriched by an equivalent amount of 168,750 tons of Nitrogen, 56,250 tons of Phosphorous and 150,000 tons of Potassium. Savings of the said Fertilizer cost may be considered as CER revenue to Jute cultivation. 



The Fibre 2 Fashion

27 June 2013



On a jute trail


M.A. Vazeer and his wife Zothina Vazeer tell why they are in love with the roughness of jute

In the need of shopping bags without having to use plastic carry bags led a couple on a hunt for an alternative. This search then led them to a research and the research set them on a journey across the state to the eastern region. Till about that time, jute, its uses and its importance in totality were unheard of for M. A. Vazeer and wife Zothina Vazeer. “I was a techie and jute was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t feel the need to know and associate myself with jute. Then suddenly out of no where I came across something made of jute and I started seeing its utility and use. This was the time when I was becoming aware about the environment and the impact it has on us and how we as human beings are pushing the limits with the environment,” recollects Vazeer.

This time around Vazeer was also a part of a workshop which dealt with jute. This was the baby step for him and despite being a novice, with the support of his wife, he quit his cushy job and decided to get on with jute ‘full-time’. His wife then slowly introduced the idea of running a small industry which made jute bags.


“A thought backed by my wife’s support became a goal and then eventually that was to become the source of our family earning. So came into being ‘Facco di carta’ meaning jute bags. And my wife runs the show. I was so involved and amazed at the things which can be done out of jute and protect the environment at the same time by getting rid of plastic carry bags and shopping bags that I was almost very sure this project will succeed. So I quit my job and stayed in a place called Behala in West Bengal to learn more about jute. In a place like West Bengal where jute is sufficiently available people do everything with jute. The rice bags are made of jute, the shopping bags and even the floor mats in front of the house are made with jute,” recollects Vazeer.


Vazeer says at Behala he saw the plight of the people where they work for Rs. 20 and live on one meal a day. “It wasn’t the best of the situations but what they made was probably something very unique and beautiful,” says Vazeer.


After returning from WB, Vazeer purchased two special machines to stitch jute and the two began their journey on a modest note. “We started with small bags and thank God for my wife being a fabric designer she was able to put more thoughts and ideas into the bags and stitching styles. Initially we felt at sea, unsure of how things would shape up. But gradually it seemed that people do use a lot of jute bags in the city to carry their lunch boxes to work, also as hand bags,” says Vazeer.


But Vazeer’ goal was not just to make jute items and sell, while learning about jute in WB, he also learned how the material is an alternative source of income for those involved in agricultural activities. He observed that men and women were involved in the jute industry to make extra money when they were not working in the fields. “I wanted to do the same for poor farmers. I couldn’t give them anything for free because I wasn’t making surplus, I was barely breaking even and whatever little we would make, went in procuring the materials or updating ourselves. So it took us numerous visits and talks with the rural people in districts to assure them of something different. This is a cottage industry product and even one person working extra with us meant surplus end products which only two of us cannot do. After those numerous visits we had a few people from the rural areas agreeing to do what we were doing. The moment one person agrees, it is nice to see that they are able to get a few more,” Vazeer.


But Vazeer says, this is not a flourishing industry. The struggles they have are manifold and while the ideas are lapped up in other countries, Indians are yet to appreciate the value of the material. Vazeer and his wife operate from a small place at Neredmet, in Secunderabad and though they haven’t been able to make big money they are happy that they are able to provide a new skill to people who cannot do anything but work hard for a living.


Now Zothina and Vazeer constantly work on items that will make jute more attractive and in the process they have even come up with decoratives for the Christmas tree, jewellery “and everything that one can think of. Our shopping bags come with a message of the environment and Zothina is constantly sitting and making dummies which can be transformed into jute items for use.

Keywords: M. A. VazeerZothina Vazeerjute bagsenvironmental protectionjute products



The hindu

27 June 2013


Jute cultivation acreage ‘marks 7pc rise’


Jute cultivation acreage marked a rise by 7 percent this fiscal compared to that of the previous fiscal, said officials at the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) on Monday. Deputy Director of DAE’s Field Service Wing (FSW) Rafiqul Hasan told that the acreage under jute cultivation this year hit 7.5 lakh hectares, which is about 99 percent of the targeted acreage of 7.57 lakh hectares earlier fixed by the department. This year’s jute acreage has touched the acreage mark of 7.5 lakh hectares which was also achieved two years back, he added. Director of DAE’s Cash Crop Wing (CCW) Monzurul Islam said they are expecting an increase in this year’s raw jute production by 8.5 percent this season due to the increased acreage. CCW forecasts that the raw jute, excluding Mesta and Kenaf, production of the current season, will stand at 77.5 lakh bales. Raw jute production declined by 7.09 percent to 71.72 lakh bales in the fiscal 2012-13 compared to that of the fiscal 20111-12 as farmers reacted to the continuous price fall in the previous years, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). - See more at: http://unbconnect.com/jute-acreage/#&panel1-1




17 June 2013


Use of jute in automobile industry: A new prospect for Bangladesh


Jute was once known the golden fibre of Bangladesh as it was the most important cash crop of the country. Bangladesh used to have a monopoly of jute business internationally. Its share in the export basket of the country was 80 percent in the fiscal 1947-48 but in 1975- 76 it fell down to only 25 percent. Later, the polypropylene products started to substitute traditional jute products causing the jute market go down gradually and our biggest jute mills — Adamjee Jute Mills — was officially closed on June 30, 2002 by the government. It is a glaring example of miss-management. Day by day all the jute mills started to stop their production one after another.

But now time has come to again put emphasis on the production of jute. Western countries are promoting ‘green’ and environment friendly products, and jute packaging and products are being considered eco-friendly.


The US’ biggest automobile manufacturer Ford introduced its all-new model made with sustainable materials. The “green” car employs green solutions to reduce petroleum-based content such as seat fabrics and interior plastics. Among the production materials, the company has added the use of recycled cotton, clear plastic bottles and soybeans. Renewable and recyclable materials are being used in ford cars, utilities and trucks to reduce negative impact on the environment. Toyota and Honda are trying to do the same. They plan to use green and natural material replacing synthetic petroleum product.


Natural fibres have the advantage of being environmental friendly, light in weight and yet high in tensile strength, all at a lower cost than synthetic alternatives. Traditionally jute was used in textile machineries. Jute has a long history of use in the sackings, carpets, wrapping fabrics, and the construction fabric manufacturing industry. It can be used to create a number of fabrics such as Hessian cloth, sacking, scrim, carpet backing cloth and canvas. The fibre is used alone or blended with other types of fibres to make twine and rope. Hessian, lighter than sacking, is used for bags, wrappers, wall-coverings, upholstery, and home furnishings. Jute butts, the coarse ends of the plants, are used to make inexpensive cloth. Conversely, very fine threads of jute can be separated out and made into imitation silk.


As a wood fibre jute has many promising features. The government and local investor should take initiatives to make sure the diversified use of the fibre. If the jute research organisations confirm the quality of the jute products and the products reach the global green market in time then Bangladesh may be able to monopolise the world jute market again. The major breakthrough has been made when the automobile, pulp paper, furniture and bedding industries started to use jute and its allied fibres with their non-woven and composite technology to manufacture technical textiles and composites. They are ideal alternatives for petrochemical based fibres currently used in manufacturing many composite products. Also, the fibre has made an excellent replacement for fibreglass. Ultimately, the manufacturers are interested to offer profitable ‘green’ solutions to their customers. 


The writer is an Advance Automotive Engineer who writes from Michigan, USA. - See more at: http://www.daily-sun.com/details_yes_20-06-2013_Use-of-jute-in-automobile-industry:-A-new-prospect-for-Bangladesh_533_2_5_1_1.html#sthash.XkFbmCrb.dpuf



The Daily Sun

20 June 2013



Two cheers for Jute fibre


I consider Jute as something of great value to the life of the majority of people living in the deltaic plains washed by the three mighty rivers – the Padma, the Jamuna and the Meghna. Biologically, it is a fibrous tropical plant that grows in wet soil and can survive in standing water. Its fibre is coarse and is used to make gunny, burlap and cordage. In the fifties and sixties it became the then Pakistan’s prime foreign exchange earner; hence it was named the golden fibre. To me its significance is more than what gold means to most people. It has played a crucial role in changing the fate of the Muslims of East Bengal.

After the Battle of Palasi, the conditions of the Muslims deteriorated. Most them were cultivators and depended on the produce from the soil. They faced two challenges from the elite who comprised the British and the Hindus. The British looked upon them with mistrust as they belonged to the religion of the Muslim rulers whom they had dethroned. The prejudice with which the Muslims were maltreated and exploited can be seen in William Hunter’s account of The Inidan Musalmans. The Muslims too looked upon the British as the usurper after the fall of Nawab Shirajuddoula and a hundred years later, the exile of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Jafar. So when the colonial rulers introduced a new system of English education, the Muslims naturally were averse to the English education system. So, the only way they could survive was agriculture. But cultivating just paddy was not enough to send their boys to school.

In the mid nineteenth century, the Muslim attitude to English education started to change. They too wanted their boys to receive English education and get a share of the jobs that so far had gone to the Hindus. It was during this time that history came to play a dominant role in the life of these illiterate Muslims. The outbreak of the Crimean War (1854-56) cut off the supply of Russian flax which posed a threat to the running of the Dundee Mills. They experimented with Jute as alternative raw material and it proved a success. So that made for a huge demand for jute fibre. The Muslim cultivators now concentrated on growing jute which provided them with a little extra cash. So the poor cultivator was now able to send his son to an English school. That’s where the Muslims started their journey in the world of capital and trade which enabled them to educate their children. Without this miracle happening in the 19th century, the political awakening of the Muslims would have been impossible in the early 20th century. The demand for a separate homeland for the Muslims would not have emerged without Jute coming to their aid.

The second good turn Jute did to the Muslims was after the establishment of Pakistan in 1947. In the sixties, Jute again came to play a dominant role in the economy of the country owing to the Vietnam War (1959-1975). The War led to the use of Jute as gunny, hessian, cordage in an unprecedented volume. The price of Jute spiralled and the rural Muslims could now afford to invest money in small businesses. That’s where their journey from the paddy field to the drawing room began.

Jute had its bad days too – in the seventies, the use of artificial fibre and plastic material led to its decline. And we all know how the biggest Jute Mill in Asia had to close down owing to incurring losses that it could no longer sustain. And now after the Rio convention, artificial fibre is considered harmful to the ecology and Jute has  found its place of honour once again. It is today used not only as gunny or hessian or cordage. Jute has made an impact into the world of fashion – sari, handbag, briefcases etc are made from Jute. But the men who produce jute still live in the villages. In their worst days in the 19th century, the forefathers of today’s jute growers were happy with a morsel of rice. They may not have learnt the three R’s, but they never forgot to send their boys to the madrasah or the nearest masjid to learn the basics of their religion. Those private madrasahs still exist alongside the Alia madrasahs established by the British. These Qaumi madrasahs have stood the test of time and have been the source of spiritual sap for the majority of these Muslims who have lived with jute for centuries together.

The Dhaka March of the Hefazat-e-Islam was mainly arranged and manned by students and teachers of the Qaumi madrasahs. They suddenly discovered that their firm belief in their Prophet and Allah is in danger. So they decided to assert their belief and take to the street. The jute growers and sons of jute growers in white did not want to compromise as they sat under the open night sky . The operation on their gathering that fateful night has had an indelible effect on the minds of the rural community – the community of the jute growers. They don’t believe what the law enforcers claim to be the number of casualty.  I shall not be surprised if jute again comes to fill the ballot boxes in the way it shapes its growers’ mind. So, for now I would say two cheers for jute. We will have to wait until the time comes to say three cheers.

The writer, a professor of English at the IIUC, Dhaka Campus, is Associate Editor of The Independent. He is also a former DG and President of Bangla Academy and can be reached at: mharunursra@yahoo.com



The independent

Thursday, 27 June 2013



Low quality jute bags: 5 firms in trouble


The Punjab Government has accused five firms of supplying substandard jute bags. The Director General Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) has sought deputation of five more teams to conduct extensive inquiry into the quality of the bags.


According to an earlier inspection by a DGS&D senior officer, inferior quality bags were supplied by five manufacturers, including Abhishek Projects Private Limited, Ganges Jute Private Limited of Kolkata and Bihar Raffia Industries of Jamshedpur.


The payment for these five suppliers has been stopped pending inquiry. And if the charges are proved, the firms will be blacklisted and slapped penalty.


Meanwhile, the DGS&D has procured 2.22 lakh bales of HDPE/PP bags from 87 suppliers to meet the jute bag shortage. The arrangement, made in a short span of two months, is covered by warranties and guarantees of the suppliers that they are liable to be acted against in case of quality or quantity shortfall.



The Indian Express

June 19, 2013




Rules designed for mandatory use of jute sacks


The government has framed new rules to enforce a compulsory use of jute sacks to pack food grains and other items.The compliance with the law is expected to give jute goods makers and farmers a cushion from a slump in prices due to reduced demand for jute items abroad.The rules gazetted early this month will come into effect in August for public and private sectors. It will also be applicable to goods imported in bulk, according to the rules.Businesses have largely been ignoring the law passed in October 2010, as the authority could not enforce it due to absence of the rules.


But rice millers expressed concern that the use of jute sacks would put a extra price burden on them due to high prices of the bags.“It will make a positive impact on the industry,” said Najmul Huq, chairman of Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA). An advisory panel headed by Textiles Secretary Md Ashraful Moqbul will determine the amount of food grains and other items to be packed by jute sacks next month based on the annual availability and production of jute and sacks.

Formation of the rules has cleared ways to enforce the law, the secretary said.
“The increased domestic use of jute will prevent prices from falling amid reduced demand in international market. So it will protect farmers’ interest to grow jute.”
“We will be able to bargain more with the buyers with the enforcement of the law,” said Huq.

The BJMA, however, said the industry cannot take full advantage of the compulsory packaging act, as there is shortage of sacks.


Of the 30 crore pieces of jute sacks produced by public and private jute mills a year, 10 crore pieces are exported, said Huq.So far, three state agencies — Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation, Directorate General of Food, Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation — have started using the sacks.But private sector businesses, including rice millers, flour processors and sugar refiners, have not yet started using the sacks due to its higher prices than the polypropylene bags.

A polypropylene sack costs Tk 13-15, but a jute bag requires Tk 50-55, said Layek Ali, convenor of Bangladesh Auto Major and Husking Mill Owners Association.
“We have no problem in using jute sacks to pack rice. But such use of sacks will increase prices of rice at consumer level.”“We sell rice in bags. So it is difficult for us to use the sack again.”

Rice prices would also go up by Tk 1 a kilogram due to the use of jute bags, he said. “Jute sacks may have higher prices, but these could be used two times more than the polypropylene ones.”
Ali said millers use jute sacks for paddy, not for rice.



The Daily Star

June 20, 2013




DGSD revises payment terms for jute industry


Move to have Rs 650 cr implication for the industry

The jute industry is sore over the decision of the directorate general of supplies & disposal (DGSD) to revise payment terms for the industry.The DGSD has decided to withhold 10 per cent payment made to jute mills for supplying gunny sacks to Food Corporation of India (FCI).

"The decision is unilateral and against the interest of the jute industry. It will have an implication of Rs 650 crore on the industry," said an industry source. FCI annually procures around 12-14 million tonne of jute bags valued at around Rs 6,500 crore. The current price (in June) of one tonne of jute bag is around Rs 56,000 or Rs 3,700/100 bags.

The jute industry is crying hoarse on DGSD's decision. According to industry, it is a rate contract system and is not applicable to them. Supply of jute bags are made on orders issued by DGSD and production control orders from the jute commissioner. The prices are fixed by the jute commissioner.

The industry has approached the director general S N Mohanty holding the decision as 'unilateral'. As per the industry, it will foment labour unrest and disrupt production. The industry claims it has limited capital and cannot absorb the shock of extending credit to the government.

As per the Jute Packaging Materials Act (JPMA), in 2012-13, 90 per cent of food grains produced in the country were packed in jute sacks. For 2013-14, the standing advisory committee on jute recently decided to maintain the same level. Originally, they had planned to reduce it to 70 per cent.

Jute bag prices are fixed on a 12-year old formula worked out by the Tariff Commission. During this period, the government disallowed cost escalation on half the items necessary for production of one tonne of jute bag. They include stores, repairs, overhead, other packing, depreciation, interest, return and others.



Business Standard

June 17, 2013


Exports grow 15.5pc year-on-year in May


Star Business Report

Exports accelerated 22.11 percent to $2.53 billion in May from the previous month, helped by higher demand for garment items, jute and jute goods abroad.Overseas sales grew 15.5 percent year-on-year in May, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau. But exports in May were about 4 percent lower than the $2.63 billion target.

Shubhashish Bose, vice chairman of EPB, attributed the export growth to rising exports to new destinations, diversification of products and low-cost.“The trend is still good despite some odds such as hartals and building collapse. I hope the exports will pick further up in June,” Bose said.
Between July and May, exports grew 10.67 percent to $24.32 billion from the same period last year, but were lower than the target for $25.16 billion, according to the data.Bangladesh exported knitwear worth $9.40 billion and woven garments worth $9.92 billion in July-May, registering year-on-year growth of 9.56 percent and 14.10 percent respectively.
Jute and jute goods exports grew 6.57 percent to $947.91 million between July and May, from the same period a year ago.

All these data belong to the exports made nearly three months earlier, said Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
The effects of political violence and accidents in the garment sector will be felt on exports in three months from now, Islam said. International buyers are now negotiating the prices for the next spring season. “We hope the environment will calm after the next general election.”



The Daily Star

June 06, 2013



57,800 bales of jute to be produced in Narsingdi


ARSINGDI, JUNE 5: A target has been fixed to produce 57,800 bales of jute in Narsingdi district in the current season. A source in the Agriculture Extension Department (AED) said that there had  been a bumper production of jute in the district last year. The demand for raw jute has increased manifold in the local and the global markets after the banning of polythene bags in the country in 2003.
Besides, the demand for jute fibre  has also increased in the international market.
People in other countries prefer jute fabrics to synthetic, as clothes made of synthetic fibre pollute the environment, the source added.

The AED has taken up a programme to bring 6,500 hectares of land under jute cultivation with a production target of 57,800 bales of jute in the district this season. Of the total target, about 2,900 hectares of land has been brought under cultivation of local variety with a production target of 28,600 bales of jute, while the remaining land under Tosha variety with a production target of 29,200 bales of jute.
Last year, jute was cultivated on 5,800 hectares of land with a target to produce 48,900 bales of jute.  Production of jute from 1995 to 2004 faced a setback in the district due to smuggling of law quantity jute seeds into the country from India.  But during the last three years there has been a bumper production of jute,  but farmers are yet to get fair price of their produce.
Jute cultivators have to face loss financially while middlemen are benefited.
The soil of the district contains enough moisture and early rains make the soil more fertile, some agriculture experts said. Farmers of the district are preparing their lands for sowing jute seeds.


The independent

June 06, 2013




Int’l Jute Study Group celebrates World Environment Day


Staff Correspondent

International Jute Study Group (IJSG) yesterday organized a painting competition for children, a debate competition for university students and a tree plantation programme at its secretariat in the capital marking the World Environment Day. Indian High Commissioner Pankaj Saran attended the event as the chief guest. IJSG Secretary General Bhupendra Singh spoke at the event.


The Daily Star

June 06, 2013


Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation's unique scheme to encourage jute bag usage


HYDERABAD: Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) commissioner M T Krishna Babu on Wednesday launched a novel scheme 'Sanche Bangaram' to dissuade people from using plastic bags at the Kukatpally Rythu Bazaar.

Citizens can buy jute bags and win gold worth Rs 1 lakh. The GHMC has taken up the scheme in coordination with the Kukatpally Rythu Bazaar management and a non-governmental organisation.
According to the scheme, a gift coupon would be given to a person who comes with a jute bag to the Rythu Bazaar.

The shopper has to drop the coupon in a box. "A draw will be held at Rythu Bazaar on July 15," the GHMC commissioner said.

The lucky winner will get Rs 1 lakh worth gold. Based on the response to the scheme, the GHMC would rope in private companies to organize such schemes at Rythu Bazaars and shopping malls in the twin cities.



The Times of India

June 06, 2013



Five-day jute exhibition begins in Ooty


UDHAGAMANDALAM: As part of the World Environmental Day celebrations, a jute promotional exhibition was inaugurated in Ooty by the National Jute Board (NJB), a body set up by the ministry of textiles, on Wednesday. For the first time, the Board has organized an exhibition in Ooty.

The five-day jute exhibition will display lifestyle products made of jute. Around 15 jute entrepreneurs from states including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and West Bengal will showcase their consumer products.

"The main objective of organizing the exhibition-cum-sale is to create awareness about eco-friendly products made from natural fiber," said T Ayyappan, market promotion officer, NJB. The exhibition was organized with the support of Small Industries Product Promotion Organization (SIPPO), a Madurai-based NGO, with the hope of encouraging jute entrepreneurs and SHGs in various marketing related activities and employment opportunities, Ayyappan said.

Nilgiris collector Archana Patnaik inaugurated the exhibition at the USSS hall, where jewelry, gift articles, consumer products, wall hangings, foot wear and floor coverings made of jute were on display.

P Jayaprakash, 30, a jute product manufacturer from Palladam, who has displayed his products including knee pads made of jute told TOI, "Ultimately, the earth is very important. We don't have any right to pollute the earth. Hence, I decided to do something eco-friendly for my livelihood, manufacturing jute products including trays, baskets, bags etc." The knee pad made of jute, a first of its kind and manufactured by him, is waiting patent registration. "Once the patent formalities are over, I will circulate the jute knee pads in the market," he said.

Ayyappan said the main advantage of jute is its eco-compatibility. It has been considered an ecologically sound fiber because of its inherent properties. Jute as a natural fiber is finding keener acceptance as an environment-friendly product since its contents are cellulose and lignin which are biodegradable.

Mainly grown in West Bengal and botanically known as 'Corcorus Capsolacier' or Corcorus Olitorius', jute holds bright prospects in the global trend of opting for natural products in various sectors.



The Times of India

June 06, 2013



Bid to popularize jute carrybags


AMSHEDPUR: The Adhunik Power and Natural Resources Limited (APNRL) distributed jute bags among its employees at the company's Padampur plant in Seraikela on Wednesday.

The move comes in the wake of efforts to minimize the use of polythene bags. "It's time we start responding to issues that call for our attention," said APNRL president Naresh Goyal.

R N Chaudhary, regional director of the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB), who was the chief guest on the occasion, said the board has launched a campaign to remove polythene bags from peoples' day-to-day lives. Chaudhary also planted a sapling to mark the World Environment Day.



The Times of India

June 06, 2013




Plant a sapling, use a jute bag and educate hawkers this World Environment Day


Want to do something cool and green on World Environment Day but don't know what? Here's a list of fun ways to turn eco-friendly on Wednesday: 1. Young Environmentalists Programme Trust (YEPT) along with Hiranandani Gardens are conducting tree plantation at open spaces in the area. During the tree plantation, citizens will be imparted knowledge on the right way to plant trees and which indigenous trees adapt better to roadsides. Starting at 10 am at the New Hiranandani School ground, if you wish to join, contact the number 9967347511. 

2. YEPT will also be kick starting a month long project for students on BAN ON PLASTIC BAGS. Students will have to conduct surveys and derive conclusions on why are plastic bags still being used, while stressing on the fact that plastic bags can clog drains and cause flooding during the rains. Participants will receive a certificate and a letter of recommendation. All those interested can call on the number 9967347511. 

3. Mumbai University is organizing a tree plantation drive at 5pm at the Vidyanagari Campus, Kalina. Anybody interested can join. 

4. A summer camp on waste management from 1:30 to 5:30 pm by NGO Srushtidyan at Anandwadi, Kurar Village in Malad (E). 

The three hour session on waste management is open to public. 

5. The Beauty of Recycling festival at Phoenix Market City and Phoenix mall in Pune between 5th to 7th June. Waste workshops, art exhibits, toys from trash workshop, puppet theatre and street plays will be hosted to educate people about the merits of recycling. 

6. A Bikeathon in Delhi organised by WWF India, where people will pedal a special bike that generates electricity to light up a specific area. The bike will go through different parts of Delhi by the WWF team. Occurs between 6 pm to 8 pm at Dilli Haat. 

7. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will plant trees in Hooper garden, near Five Gardens, Dadar (East) at 9.45 am. Feel free to take your saplings and go along. 

8. Going shopping? Carry your basket or jute bag along. In fact, get your creative juices flowing and craft stickers reminding people to carry shopping bags. Paste them at every elevator landing in your building. 

9. Buy recycled goods, gift recycled goods: Tyres turned into furniture, tyre-rubber bags and wallets, plastic bottles recycled into brooms and knick-knacks -- options are aplenty.  

10. Educate hawkers down the street, persuade them not to give plastic bags with their goods. 



The India.com

June 04, 2013



Making women self-reliant through handicrafts


Since 2008, Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD) has been working with rural women in the impoverished areas of Bihar to make them self-reliant and conscious of their rights.And now the socio-cultural organisation is giving these women an opportunity to become a part of the national mainstream by organising an event at the Constitution Club here on June 5.

According to ANHAD founder Shabnam Hashmi, the organisation has been working diligently for the past five years to make the women stand on their own feet and become aware of their rights.

“We have introduced literacy programmes, intervened in local issues and formed pressure groups in order to ensure that government schemes are implemented. We need to understand that these are extremely poor areas where 70 per cent of the men have migrated to different parts of the country to earn their livelihood. Average income is Rs.7,000 to Rs.8,000 for a family of ten. Literacy level for women is under 25 per cent. So we have engaged them in producing jute bags and want these activities to become self-sustainable,” she said.

ANHAD has been training hundreds of women in weaving mats, durries and making aesthetically appealing jute products in Araria and Purnia districts of Bihar.

To bring in professionalism and ensure more women are introduced in income-generating activities, Ms. Hashmi has roped in the services of a group of young film-makers, Progressive Films, and an Internet marketing company, Reprise Media. Initially, ANHAD started with providing relief to flood victims. But the relationship with the local community has grown exponentially.

Sahir Raza who has worked with ANHAD intermittently said the basic purpose behind the whole exercise is to enable the women to secure a market for their products in urban centres.

Designer Saumya Nagar who supervised the work of women in Purnia district of Bihar said a large collection of bags, cushions and lifestyle products will be launched and marketed.

For this National Institute of Fashion Technology alumna, travelling to rural areas of the State was an interesting learning experience. She got a close look at the hardship faced by rural women on a daily basis. The products have also been produced by women of Nizamuddin Basti in Delhi and Uri in Kashmir.


The Hindu

May 30, 2013




Tk 500m jute goods remain unsold


Zahid Hossain Biplob

KHULNA: A huge quantity of jute and jute products worth millions of taka remain stockpiled in the silos of jute mills under Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) for long, pushing the local jute industry into a deadlock.

Sources said prevailing political unrest across the country and a falling demand of jute products in the domestic and overseas markets are taking their toll on the jute industry of the region. Some 5000 tonnes jute hessian, sacking and worth Tk 500 million have been lying unsold in the mill silos of Khalishpur Jute Mill at Khulna industrial belt Khalishpur since the last two years.
Besides, the mill authority owes cores of taka to the businesses and commercial bank, added the source.

Khulna BJMC officials informed that after reopening of the Khalishpur Jute Mill in March 2011, the mill has been producing some 69 tonnes of jute goods in a single day. A total of 22,215 metric tones of jute products have been produced at the mill since its reopening.

Official sources said India, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Thailand, South Africa, Sudan and some other African countries are the key importers of Bangladeshi jute and jute products. But the recent political impasse in Bangladesh and political rifts in the importing countries has contributed a lot to the declining export.

An official of the mill, preferring anonymity, said difficulty in getting loans on easy terms, shortage of labour and a lack of high quality products are some of the key problems putting the jute industry in a tight corner.

Fazlul Haq chowdhury, deputy manager of the mill, said the production saw a reasonable volume at the factory as electricity supply and other supports were more or less available for few months, adding that the production has been severely disrupted due to the unrest in the country’s political arena.He also informed that the mill exported 16,938 tonnes products after the resuming production on March 5, 2011.

While contacted, Mollah Alamgir, chief engineer of the mill, said the mill has been shut down on July 31, 2007 as it was incurring huge losses. Later on July 7 of 2008, the mill was leased to Kazi pharmacy Limited. However, the mill could not be taken out from losses and was handed over to the BJMC.

In 2010, the BJMC resume production at the mill on an experimental basis. Later, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina officially reopened the mill on March 5, 2011. Currently, the mill is running with 65 officials and 239 staffs. There are 3500 workers in the factory. The mill, established on 72 acres of land on the bank of river Bhairab in 1952, was nationalised under Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) in 1972.


The Daily Sun

May 25, 2013




The Uses and Abuses of Plastic Bags


Elisabeth Rosenthal raises an important issue. Plastic bags pose a conundrum. Though they create a significant problem for the environment, plastic bags offer a clean and convenient solution for collecting and disposing of food scraps and materials not accepted for recycling in New York City.

For residents in multifamily dwellings, replacing trash chutes with garbage disposal units probably cannot be mandated retroactively. Imposing a charge of, say, $1 a bag at supermarkets and stores or a tax would place an undue burden on low-income families.

Reusable bags may solve the shopping problem but not the garbage-management problem. We need an infusion of entrepreneurial spirit to develop a cost-effective process for collecting and recycling polyethylene bags or a process for modifying the plastic in bags so it degrades in landfills.


The writer is a retired chemist.


The Daily Star

May 26, 2013



Reviving jute's lost glory is daunting but not impossible


Nilratan Halder

Farmers, according to a report carried in this newspaper on May 21, are showing more interest than last year's to cultivate jute. Conventional wisdom tells them this year jute will be in high demand and therefore fetch higher prices. This is because, they reason, after two consecutive years' price slump, the price ought to be competitive this time. This simple fact reveals some positive trends in the country's agriculture. Earlier, farmers had few options and they were compelled to cultivate either paddy or jute. The 'golden fibre' as the jute was known then lost its status with the invasion of polythene bags and other artificial alternatives in the late 80's. Also there was no serious research work with the fibre then for its diversified use.

With their backs to the wall, only those farmers who had no options other than cultivating jute in low land used to cultivate jute. Since the demand for the fibre was dull and price was far too low, irate farmers often made bonfires of their produce at marketplaces. It is at this moment some dedicated people successfully carried out research with jute for its diversified use. Yet it was not enough to revive the crop's fortune. But awareness of environmental pollution due to artificial packaging materials among people in the West was about to reverse the course in favour of jute.

Unfortunately, the government of the time and people overseeing the affairs of jute missed the signal of the opportunity that was coming their way. Once the number one jute producing country, it has surrendered the top spot to India which is using advanced cultivation technique for growing the crop. But Bangladesh is still the largest exporter of the fibre and the finest quality is grown here. As the largest producer of jute, India is also the largest consumer because it has adopted the national policy for use of jute for packaging. As a producer of the finest variety of jute, Bangladesh could as well introduce such a national law in order to promote jute. Even an executive order to the effect that no government offices and the country's embassies abroad will use carpets on floors and window curtains other than those homemade, would have sufficed to boost the use of jute.

Such carpets and curtains made from the best variety of jute are already of high quality; they could be improved further through involvement of both traditional artisans and modern graphic designers. Advanced technology of graphic and textile designing can be happily combined with the traditional skills of carpet makers. These items have markets abroad but they have to compete with Kashmiri and Persian (Iranian) carpets. Where it concerns window curtains, the ones made from high quality jute have few matches. But unfortunately, faulty policy has been responsible for importing synthetic or cotton curtain from abroad. Surely, the locally produced jute curtains could have served the purpose very well. On the promotion front, jute has suffered tremendously although people in high places often wax lyrical about the lost glory of jute.

It would not be easy to revive the golden fibre's fortune and wrest the top position from India in terms of production. There are two distinct disadvantages: first, the acreage of jute cultivation. This will have to be increased even if the most advanced technology and method are employed for its cultivation; second, Bangladesh's food production may suffer a reversal as a result. However, this is unlikely to be a daunting task if the price tag of jute stays where it is now -- Tk 2,300 to 2,500 a maund of jute is the market price. This shows that the mills can afford this much price and still have their profit margins. There is no denying that most new jute mills particularly in the private sector, unless of course in exceptional cases, are running at a reasonable level of profit. But no one can guarantee that the come harvesting season of jute will not see a sudden pluming of its price.

Even the government stands a silent spectator when farmers are at a disadvantage with their commodities. If cultivation proves nowhere near cost-effective, there is no reason for farmers to stick to cultivation of the same crop. Paddy cultivation has been facing such a dilemma on account of the falling price although the profit margin is guaranteed for millers, hoarders and wholesalers. But the difference between paddy and jute is that rice is the staple here and paddy is not. So even if farmers have to incur losses on paddy, they can at least rest assured that there are customers for their produce but the same cannot be said about jute. So a drastic price slump can devastate farming families depending solely on jute cultivation. This is unlikely to happen in case of paddy cultivation.

Yet environmental awareness has brought jute, natural fibre next only to cotton, into the spotlight. Cotton is pricier than jute and some purposes jute serves better than cotton. Now it is exactly at this point, planning with crops matters. If jute has to be cultivated, the produce must not be exported in its raw form. This will not prove profitable. It is the mills that will have to be modernised and complemented by advanced research. The task has been made easier by the sequencing of jute genomes by a Bangladeshi scientist. To derive the full benefits of his phenomenal work, the research laboratory he set up here should be devoted to his honour and more research and experiments carried out with the aim to have their practical use. This is how jute can get back the position it lost.



The Financial Express

May 24, 2013


Food ministry for 30% dilution in jute bag use rule


Jayajit Dash  |  Bhubaneswar 

Food ministry for 30% dilution in jute bag use rule

Mill body protests, says arguments not factual and sector will lose Rs 2,000 cr

In a setback to the jute sector, the Union food ministry has recommended dilution of the Jute Packaging Materials Act of 1987 (JPMA), pressing instead for a 30 per cent use of plastic bags for packing foodgrain in the 2013-14 agriculture season.

It has based this on a recent price policy report on raw jute for 2013-14 by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). The CACP said reservation in the JPMA should be reduced to 70 per cent of the total need. JPMA provides for mandatory use of jute bags for packaging of foodgrain and sugar up to 100 per cent by government procurement agencies. The food ministry is the biggest purchaser of the annually produced 2,000 million jute bags. About 35-40 per cent of jute bags produced by the industry are purchased by the food ministry on behalf of different state food procuring agencies and the Food Corporation of India (FCI).

"The dilution proposal is very unfortunate. If implemented, it will shrink further. The industry will lose around Rs 2,000 crore if this happens. Though the textile ministry is supposed to take care of the industry, it is neglecting our concerns. There are alternative jute bags available for packaging of foodgrains but these are not being used," said Sanjay Kajaria, joint managing director, Hastings Jute Mill and former chairman, Indian Jute Mills Association. The total market for jute bags, including exports, is estimated at around Rs 10,000 crore.

In 2012-13, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs allowed 10 per cent use of plastic bags for packing foodgrain and 60 per cent for sugar. According to the food ministry, the industry has a peak capacity to supply 2.5-3 million bales (a bale is 180 kg) of jute bags, while the yearly requirement is 3.5-4 million bales.

In a recent letter, Union food secretary Sudhir Kumar complained to his counterpart in the textiles department, Zohra Chatterjee, that for the past two to three years, the state grain procuring agencies were facing many problems regarding timely supply of packaging material. To relax pressure on the grain producing farmers, the JPMA should be eased by 30 per cent, Kumar suggested.

In 2011, Madhya Pradesh witnessed law and order problems because of irregular supply of jute bags. In its proposed arguments before the coming meeting of the Standing Advisory Committee on jute, the industry has claimed the demand for jute bags is lower than production. And, that there are no proven records of supply default to food procuring agencies and FCI.

The Jute Advisory Board at its meeting on May 10 had projected an estimated total production of 12 million bales for 2013-14 . This includes 11.2 million bales of jute and 0. 8 million bale of mesta. In 2012-13, the production was 11.4 million bales, including 10.8 million bales of jute and 0.6 million bales of mesta.


The Business Standard

May 24, 2013



Raw jute prices might fall 10%


The availability of raw jute for 2013-14 has been projected at 13.5 mn bales

The price of raw jute is poised to fall 10 per cent, owing to a better supply position, though crop output is likely to fall by five per cent for 2012-13 to 10.6 million bales, according to the advance estimates of the Union agriculture ministry.

The price correction will be on the back of an inventory of three million bales (a bale is 170 kg). The availability of raw jute for 2013-14 has been projected at 13.5 mn bales. The ministry had targeted a production of 11.2 mn bales. Actual output might be less, due to delayed rains in Assam and parts of north Bengal and Bihar.

"The average prices of raw jute are currently around Rs 3,000 a quintal. But prices are headed for a 10 per cent drop due to a better supply position," said Sanjay Kajaria, joint managing director, Hastings Jute Mill and former chairman, Indian Jute Mills Association.

Says Manish Poddar, director, Budge Budge Jute Mill, "Even if crop output drops five per cent, it will not have any major impact on mill owners unless demand is stable. The raw jute prices are presently Rs 700 higher than the minimum support price for the crop (at Rs 2,300/qtl). Any significant price movement will depend on demand."

An area of 389,000 hectares (ha) was covered under jute cultivation, lower than last year's 426,000 ha. As mentioned earlier, an inventory build-up of 3.1 mn bales between 2009 and 2012 is expected to ease prices.

According to the Jute Advisory Board (JAB), import of raw jute from Bangladesh went up from 300,000 bales in 2009-10 to 900,000 bales in 2012-13. Inventory build-up during this period registered almost the same rise, indicating low consumption by mills. Between 2009 and 2012, consumption varied between 7.7 mn bales and 9.2 mn bales, against total supply of 10.8 mn bales and 13.2 mn bales, respectively.

JAB has recommended import of high quality raw jute from Bangladesh and revised its import estimate from 800,000 bales to 960,000 bales for the current year. This, it says, would facilitate Indian
manufacturers in producing specialised carpet quality yarn and other value-added products.


The Business Standard

May 17, 2013


Jute makes eco-friendly and cute bags


Jute bags are not just pretty things, they are eco-friendly too.The world is becoming eco-friendly and people are now realizing how important it is to care for the environment. Jute is one of the most affordable natural fibers available.

One of the products made extensively from jute is a bag. Jute bags are rustic, natural, fashionable, and bio-degradable. Jute bags are artfully designed and skillfully embroidered to suit your fancy. The golden fiber of jute makes the jute bag appear more elegant and desirable. To add to these qualities, jute bags are elegant, affordable and natural. They are very versatile and can be used as shopping bags, bags for kids, college bags, as a handpurse, as envelopes, pouches, lunch bags, mobile covers, and even as designer bags.

To personalize your office space, jute bags can be used as folders, envelopes, passport holders, business-card holders, pen and pencil stands, and be rest assured that this wonderful fabric will add to your corporate dťcor. The biggest advantage of a jute bag is that it can be used as a perfect substitute for plastic bags, which have been proved to be harmful to the Earth. 

Jute bags are available in a wide range of colours, designs, and imprints.They are available in different size and shapes depending on your requirement. Being made of a versatile fabric, jute bags are also available in a variety of colours such as yellow, pink, green, orange to name a few. Patterns ranging from plain to floral designand animal imprint are available making jute feel vibrant and energetic. 

Thanks to their versatility, jute bags are available for both men and women. Jute bags can be slung casually around a white top and blue jeans and can also go well with ethnic wear like kurtaa or salwar suits. If you choose not to carry a bag which hangs on your shoulder, then you can go for jute hand purses or clutches with ethinc designs on them. 

There is a huge demand for jute bags now, as people are going eco-friendly and natural. To completely stop the usage of plastic bags, jute bags can be a great alternative. Investing on a jute bag would be a good choice and totally valuable. Jute bags are cheap and cost effective and do not tax your pocket. With light objects, jute bags could even last for a long time if you would just gently care for it. In fact, jute bags are known to improve overall wellbeing of the individual, as the woody scent they give off is a natural healer.

When you can go easy on your pockets, while being trendy and maintaining your wellbeing at the same time, why choose anything else? It’s time to go jute!


The Deccan Herald

May 18, 2013


Bid to use jute to stop Darjeeling soil loss


Calcutta, May 19: Tea planters have decided to address the problem of soil erosion in Darjeeling on an urgent basis and have sought the National Jute Board’s help to conduct a feasibility study on the use of jute to stop erosion.

Besides increasing production from the hill district of Bengal, the move is aimed at preventing the loss of essential nutrients, which are key to the quality and flavour of tea.

Recently, top officials of the Tea Board had met members of the Jute Board, Darjeeling Tea Association, Indian Tea Association and Tea Association of India. The Darjeeling Tea Research and Development Centre and Tea Research Association were also present at the meeting.

“We had given a proposal and are going in for soil conservation in Darjeeling. The idea is to cover the soil with jute textiles, which is degradable. This will help to maintain the moisture content in the soil and provide a protective cover. We are working on the financial modalities and a few pilot projects should start. While this move will not have any short-term effect, in the long term we may see Darjeeling tea output go up 10-15 per cent,” said S.S. Bagaria, chairman of the Darjeeling Tea Association.

According to sources in the Tea Board, the loss of soil has impeded the replantation of bushes. The declining soil fertility has necessitated urgent erosion-control measures to ensure the sustainability of the industry. Heavy rainfall, which washes down soil along the slopes, and the uprooting of bushes have contributed to erosion.

In a study conducted in 2011-12, preliminary estimates suggested that about 800 kg per hectare of soil have been lost during the monsoon in July where there was a 45-55 per cent slope. The extent of erosion was higher for steeper slopes. Replantation and infilling activity were also not being done properly. According to estimates, more than 30cm of valuable top soil has been lost through erosion since the origin of tea estates in Darjeeling. Steep slopes, high precipitation, deforestation and faulty land use practices were considered the primary reasons.

“The Central Soil and Water Conservation Research and Training Institute, Dehradun, along with the Jute Board had conducted an exercise on the field application of jute geotextile in a tea plantation in Ooty. Results have been encouraging. This will be replicated here. In August, dissemination of information on the available technology will be done through a seminar with the planters,” the source said.


The telegraph

May 20, 2013


BD fails to capture jute shopping bag market in UAE for scarcity of fabric


Arafat Ara

Bangladesh could not avail the opportunity of exporting billions of jute shopping bags to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to inadequate supply of fabrics of the biodegradable products, said industry insiders.

The UAE announced to ban all plastic carrier bags by 2013. Following the decision a market of 9.0 billion pieces of jute shopping bags has been created there.Market operators said the UAE has reduced the use of synthetic shopping bags in the meantime in its shopping malls.

So there is a huge demand for the eco-friendly product in the oil-rich country, said Bangladesh Jute Diversified Product Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BJDPMEA) General Secretary M Rashedul Karim Munna.  He said since last four years, the market is ready to import jute goods mainly the shopping bags. "But we are failing to supply the demanded products due to lack of required jute fabrics"

Bangladesh produces high quality jute fabric which is being supplied to the shopping bag makers at a very high rate. But it is not necessary for the exportable jute carrier bags, he added. If Bangladesh produces jute fabric ensuring quality like that of Indian one and supply it at the same rates, the local shopping bag makers will be able to stay in competition in international market, he said.

He also said now India is dominating the UAE market as it produces a large quantity of shopping bag fabrics each year.

Not only that the neighbouring country has opened a warehouse in the Muslim nation for smooth supply of the products. Mr Karim also the Managing Director of Creation Private Limited said they cannot reach big orders from the oil-rich country due to scarcity of raw materials. "We got an order of 0.2 million pieces of shopping bags from the UAE but could not receive it." Although Bangladesh grows the best quality fibre in the world but it is failing to produce value added product which can earn more foreign currency.

BJDPMEA leaders urged the government to modernise the state-run jute mills to ensure quality fabric for diversified products. The authority should bring the dyeing and laminating units under a one umbrella so that the entrepreneurs get hassle- free service, they said.

India is importing raw jute from Bangladesh and they produce diversified products according to the international requirement, he added. Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) finance director A.E Muhammed Ali Chowdhury said they have taken all kinds of preparation to tap export potentiality of the UAE market.

The BJMC director said the government has already launched the Karnafuli Jute Mill which is capable to produce 3000 tonnes of Finer Jute Fabric (FJF). The jute shopping bag makers will get a good support from the mill as the FJF is the perfect fabric for making export quality products, he said. Besides, the commercial attachť in different emirates in the UAE are trying to create demand of Bangladeshi jute shopping bags, he added.


The Financial Express

Sunday, 05 May 2013




Rates supplied by the Bangladesh Jute Association



(One bale = 180 kg) (Taka per bale)

Ready Position (in taka) Bangla white special (BW special) 13,400 Bangla white A (BWA) 13,100 Bangla white B (BWB) 12,200 Bangla white C (BWC) 10,700 Bangla white D (BWD) 10,250 Bangla white E (BWE) 9,800 Bangla tossa special (BTS) 13,700 Bangla tossa A (BTA) 13,400 Bangla tossa B (BTB) 12,500 Bangla tossa C (BTC) 11,000 Bangla tossa D (BTD) 10,550 Bangla tossa E (BTE) 10,100

WRS/TRS, HABIJABI, CUT ROPES Bangla white rejection (BWR) 8,750 Bangla white habijabi (BWH) 6,800 Bangla tossa rejection (BTR) 9,000 Bangla tossa habijabi (BTH) 6,800

CUTTINGS Bangla white cuttings A (BWCA) 6,300 Bangla white cuttings B (BWCB) 6,100 Bangla tossa cuttings A (BTCA) 6,600 Bangla tossa cuttings B (BTCB) 6,400

MESHTA Meshta special 13,400 Meshta A 13,100 Meshta B 12,200 Meshta C 10,700 Special meshta cuttings 6,300 Ordinary meshta cuttings 6,100 Meshta- SMR 8,500

STATE OF THE MARKET--REMARKS Quality - good Condition - fair Narayanganj imports - About 10,000 Qntl. Daulatpur imports - About 20,000 Qntl. Market trend - As usual

NOTE Raw jute exports during 2012-2013 (01.07.2012 to 31.10.2012) = 557.561 bales Value 3.77 billion taka ($1 = 77.94 taka) Source: Bangladesh Jute Association, Dhaka +880-2-9552916, Narayanganj +880-2-7630904



May 6, 2013



JONESING FOR JUTE, Espadrilles are go-to fair-weather friends for feet


NEW YORK — If you’re craving a little more summer in your springtime wardrobe and you’re hesitant to break out the white pants (it’s OK, but that’s another conversation), try espadrilles.

The rope-soled shoes have long been a staple of the fair-weather seasons, no matter if there’s a chill in the air or the sidewalks are steaming. It’s all good as long as the sun is shining.

“The espadrille for spring is like the riding boot in the fall,” says Elisa Miller, creative director of the beachy brand Calypso St. Barth. “It’s a rite of the season.”

Style options have increased exponentially as designers take liberties with the definition — and have gotten a little smarter about their construction. Flat versions, wedge versions, sandals, slides and gladiator lace-up styles are some of the choices of a shoe with humble roots that was made fashionable in France and Spain in the mid-20th century.

“I’d call anything with the jute sole an espadrille,” Miller says. “You could have any fabric for the top — canvas, leather — it could be plastic, but you have to have the jute. That’s what defines it.”

Luckily for wearers, especially those who have been caught in the rain, many espadrilles now have a bottom layer of rubber, too.

But such practicality likely isn’t driving the renewed interest. Alexis Bryan Morgan, executive fashion director at Lucky magazine, traces this “huge espadrille moment” to last year’s Valentino spring runway. Seeing lacy black espadrilles paired with a long lace dress left editors swooning, she said. “It was styled so elegantly that suddenly this disposable go-to shoe was also chic and elegant. This brought it to a whole new level.”

You can’t really say they’re a “trend” because they’re pretty much an annual tradition, says Tracey Lomrantz Lester, women’s editorial director at Gilt, but she agrees this season marks a rebirth. They elevate an outfit without ever looking “too done,” she says.

And, they’re fun, says Tana Ward, senior vice president and chief merchandising officer for American Eagle. They can bring graphic prints and bright colors to an outfit without a major commitment, she says.

Lucky’s Morgan sees them as a more fashionable alternative to flip-flops. They can go to the beach or to dinner, prices tend to be affordable — or at least less expensive when you are talking Valentino — and the nautical vibe keeps things relaxed and summery.

As a vacation shoe, it’s ideal, she adds. “You’re probably already wearing them so you don’t have to pack any shoes.”

Espadrilles are instantly transporting, Lester agrees. To her, they evoke Brigitte Bardot on the French Riviera, an inspiring image even if you’re headed to the office or running errands, she says. Just throw on striped bateau-neck top and white jeans — and voila!

Lester says a white sundress also works, while Morgan suggests a long maxi or a simple black dress. She’s worn espadrilles with black satin pants and jeans rolled to a capri length.

Calypso’s Miller says a white linen shirt with jeans and silver espadrilles is a favorite look of hers, but they offer a lot of flexibility, complementing shorts, skirts and pants with all sorts of hemlines and silhouettes. That helps them live through other fads and fashions.

For them to last that long, though, Miller suggests using fabric or leather protector on the uppers, and glue on the rubber bottom if it starts to separate from the jute.

Still, Morgan likes to refresh her closet with a new pair. “So they’re not hearty shoes, but that’s part of the appeal. They’re casual, they’re go-to, they’re beachy. There’s a huge variety, but the message is the same: It’s time to relax and be in the sun.”


Times Leader.com

May 01. 2013


Dubai to say no to plastic bags


If you are in the UAE next month, and you go shopping and see a staff member of the Dubai Municipality approach you with a free jute bag, do not decline it. “It is not an optional goodie. In fact, it is a planet-saver. We can no longer afford to view the rustle of plastic bags in just about every area of our life as a functional sound. It is a sound that needs to be silenced,” the Gulf News daily said in an editorial.

Dubai Municipality’s campaign to reduce 500 million plastic bags in six months is a great step forward in this regard and each one of us needs to support it, it said.

“Every plastic bag declined at source is one more cleansing breath for the environment and by extension, for all of us. So, make a difference, say no to plastic,” the daily added.IANS


The Hindu

April 27, 2013



Jute export earning 'to remain stagnant this fiscal'


 The country's export earnings from jute are expected to remain almost stagnant this fiscal compared to that in the last fiscal, as shows the export trend from July 2012 to March 2013, reports UNB.

Statistics also reveal that the value of export of jute goods, except for yarn and twine, over the last nine months of the fiscal has remained much lower than what observed in the previous fiscal.

The average values of jute goods exports by jute mills under Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) and Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA) have declined by 2.48 percent and 6.27 percent respectively in the first nine months of the current fiscal compared to the average value of the total exports in the previous fiscal.

Although the average value of yarn and twine exports by mills under Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association (BJSA) has increased by about 12 percent in the first nine months compared to the average value of the total export in the previous fiscal, the quantity of yarn and twine exports over the first nine months of the fiscal 2912-13 remained much lower than the previous fiscal.

The export quantity of yarn and twine by mills under BJSA stood at 4,58,210 tonnes in the last fiscal, whereas the quantity of the exports until March of the current fiscal stood at only 2,96,100 tonnes, showed the statistics provided by Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA).

Talking to UNB, BJMA secretary A Barik Khan said: "The export earnings from the jute goods manufactured in both public and private mills only stood at Tk 4221.48 crore until March this fiscal. The earning last fiscal was Tk 5355.82 crore. So no significant change is on board."

"Rather, the value of the exports has decreased. The mills under BJMC and BJMA are exporting more in quantity compared to the previous fiscal, but earning less per unit product," he said.

According to the April 2013 issue of the Jute Matters, a monthly publication of Dhaka-based International Jute Study Group (ISJG), the export price of raw jute in Bangladesh declined sharply during the fiscal 2011-2012 because of a fund crisis for jute procurement faced by local traders and industries which might in turn pulled down the jute prices in local market as well as in export market.

Barik of BJMA said the government needs to facilitate the jute goods exporters with some incentives similar to those offered to the exporters of the readymade garment (RMG), frozen food and leather goods in order to facilitate growth in the jute goods exports.

Earlier, on April 16, the Jute and Textiles Ministry sent a letter to the Finance Ministry with recommendation to facilitate the jute goods exporters with the provision of current capital loans on 7 percent interest from commercial and specialised banks, as like the Export Cash Credit (ECC) offered to the leather goods exporters.


Source: The Financial Express

Published: Saturday, 27 April 2013



Cultivation of jute starts in Nilphamari


NILPHAMARI, Apr 23: Cultivation of jute has started in Nilphamari district. The farmers ploughed the jute land and are waiting for its miniaturisation. After recent rain farmers started spraying jute seeds in their moistured farmland.

In the meantime Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) has set the target of jute cultivation in Nilphamari district at 12770 hectares of land of both local and Tossa varieties out of which local variety to be cultivated in 1831 hectares and Tossa in 10939 hectares of land.

Sources added cultivation of another local variety of jute called Mesta which is sporadically cultivated in highlands across the district is also to begin soon.



Source: The Financial Express

Published: Wednesday, 24 April 2013



Extensive jute cultivation programme in Gaibandha


GAIBANDHA, Apr 22 (BSS): Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) has taken up an extensive programme on jute cultivation in the district during the current season.

DAE office sources said a total of 13,309 hectares of land would be brought under this cultivation programme with the production target of 1, 43,151 bales of jute.

Of the total, some 2,145 hectares would be cultivated in Sadar upazila, 990 in Sadullapur upazila, 400 in Palashbari upazila, 1,020 in Gobindaganj upazila, 3,380 in Sundarganj upazila, 1,970 in Shaghata upazila and 3,404 in Fulchari upazila of the district, sources said.

To make the cultivation a grand success, the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) has taken up an initiative to distribute high quality seed like O-9897, O-72 and JRO-524 among the farmers through their recognized dealers and three sale centers at Sadar, Gobindaganj and Palashbari upazila headquarters in the district this year, sources said.

The DAE has also taken up necessary measures for growers' training, easy availability of fertilisers, pesticides and other agri inputs at fair prices to help the farmers.


Source: The Financial Express

Published: Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Tough choices for Bangladesh


FAIR Report
Western sanction on Iran: Tough choices for Bangladesh

Iran-US confrontations are edging closer to direct conflict. As a result there are fear and tension rising over polarization of international politics and down fall in certain areas of international trade and business. The whole situation is in a deadlocked because both the parties have gone for hard-line stand. A developing world’s representative like Bangladesh is trapped in a duel crisis due to its strategic relations with both the countries-United States & Iran.  Relation important with both the states is mainly economic. Bangladesh has historic and continuous economic relations with these countries, which are major export destination of Bangladeshi products. Among export items raw jute, and apparels are the main product items. Bangladesh is one of the world's largest producers of the vegetable fiber Jute, which is used to create a wide range of products including carpets, car interiors etc. Bangladesh used to enjoy almost a monopoly in Jute as its share in the world market was almost 80% in 1947-48; but in 1975-76 it fell to only 25%. This fall in market share was due to the fact that many other countries had started growing jute and allied fibers. Over 25% of the population in Bangladesh is involved in jute in one way or the other including production and post-harvest handling. Hundreds of established firms transform the raw material into a range of diversified jute products such as yarn, bags, sacks and handicrafts. Tens of thousands of people are engaged in this type of off-farm employment with the majority being women (60 to 70%).  Until 1987 jute accounted for more than 50 percent of export revenue, with manufactures accounting for an increasing portion of the total (as compared with raw jute). Jute is a major industry in Bangladesh with an estimated 1.8 million metric tons in production and US$1.1 billion in exports in 2010-2011. A Bangladeshi daily The Financial Express reports, the 27 jute mills under the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) exported nearly 0.13 million tons worth BDT10.84 billion in the fiscal 12 (July-June), which was BDT9.38 billion a year ago (July 12, 2012). But, consistent with the global pattern, the United States market eroded fairly steadily over the years. Previously, the market for jute sacking was assisted by the fact that some recipient countries of American food aid specified burlap for their consignments from the United States because they had a secondary market for the bags.
Iran is also a large destination of raw jute and jute made products of Bangladesh. Iran uses Bangladeshi jute to weave the famous Persian rugs and carpets. But since sanctions hit Iran, jute exports of Bangladesh have dropped. Due to US blacklisting of Iranian banks, including the central bank of Iran, financial transactions have been restricted. Hence, Bangladeshi exporters’ shipments and orders are being cancelled, and hundreds of millions of dollars have been lost. Bangladesh exports of jute goods in Iran amounted to $889.45 million during July-May period of 2011-2012 fiscal, down from $1.0 billion in the 2010-2011 fiscal years, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (ERB). Export of jute in July 2012 was down by 13%, not only to Iran but also to Egypt, Syria, and Libya due to the effects of the Arab Spring, economic gloom in Europe, earthquake in Turkey, and flood in Thailand. Jute Mills Association leaders say, “Those who exported to Iran got caught in the embargo and their money has been tied-up in there.” Whatever goods the local millers have delivered could not yet realize payments as the world leaders have blacklisted most of the Iranian Banks from whom local banks collect export payments. Bangladesh's billion-dollar jute trade, which about 40 million people in the country rely on to make a living, has suffered major losses due to sanction on Iran. Al- jazzier reports that, it is a matter of worry if black market traders try to take advantage of the situation by shipping through illegal channels that will only mean bad for Bangladesh as it will boost the black-market and hamper the international price. Direct and indirect pressure from the US and the EU on Bangladesh for not doing business with Iran is also seen as a reason for the set back in jute export. Government of Bangladesh has fallen into the dilemma of “which way to go”. Bangladesh can’t overlook United States factor as well as its need of national economic growth. Unless new markets are created, Bangladesh can’t ignore Iranian market. Alongside, Iran has a legendary carpet market and Iran-Bangladesh developed a strong tie over the times.  Decision and policy makers of Government of Bangladesh falls between the devil and the deep sea. Now they have to choose a road from crossroads. For the time being she can take a stand of neutrality. But in the long run neutrality may not help Bangladesh in the bilateral relations with the disputed parties. Bangladesh may choose the Indian road. India pursue a dynamic strategy to ensure economic interest of hers by denying embargo and sanction on trade with Iran and legitimate approach in United Nations forum on issue of Iran’s nuclearization programme. As far as the national interest of Bangladesh, it doesn’t have privilege of breaking up relations with Iran because then trade interests in the Iranian market will be spoiled.



Foreign Affairs Insights and Reviews


23 April 2013



Earth Day: The Face of Climate Change



Link: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/21283-earth-day-2013-the-face-of-climate-change/

Earth Day: Monday, April 22 is International Mother Earth Day.  A social media campaign compiles “The Face of Climate Change,” photos from around the world. 

The theme of 2013′s Earth Day campaign is “The Face of Climate Change.” Photos from all over the world have been posted on the Earth Day Network’s website. 


 “The Face of Climate Change is keeping our oceans clean and safe for all life,” reads the comment on a photo of a girl splashing joyfully in the ocean, submitted from Ixtapa, Guerrero, Mexico. 

A couple stands on the beach in Brussels, Belgium (bundled up well for the still-chilly spring weather). The woman holds out her hand, in which she is holding sea shells. The caption reads, “The Sea is changing and needs our help.”

One photo shows a water pump in Samashpur, Bangladesh. The post states, “The Face of Climate Change is treasuring limited natural resources.”

Vibrant yellow and orange flowers in Karachi, Pakistan are show, with the words, “The Face of Climate Change is being open to changing your habits.”

A lady bug rests on the hand of a woman in Tirana, Albania. “The Face of Climate Change is enjoying Earth’s little critters.”

A young girl holds up a note book with the words “The Face of Climate Change” written on it in Gilbert, Arizona. “The Face of Climate Change is every person doing one thing to help.”

The United Nations (U.N.) Secretary General Ban Ki Moon released a statement in honor of Earth Day: “International Mother Earth Day is a chance to reaffirm our collective responsibility to promote harmony with nature at a time when our planet is under threat from climate change, unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and other man-made problems.”

“When we threaten the planet, we undermine our only home—and our future survival. On this International Day, let us renew our pledges to honor and respect Mother Earth,” he said. 

Around the world, coastal communities try to cope as sea levels rise, polar bears try to find solid footing on melting arctic ice, and droughts plague others. The U.N. urges the worlds people to work against a global problem and nurture Mother Earth this Earth Day. 

An estimated billion or so people are taking action in 192 countries on Earth Day. 

“Bolivians call Mother Earth Pachamama and Nicaraguans refer to her as Tonantzin,” states the U.N. website. “Mother Earth is a common expression for the planet Earth in a number of countries and regions, which reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and the planet.” 



Epoch Times

22 April 2013



FBR tells RTOs, LTUs: 5pc ST be charged on supply of jute bags to govt depts


ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue has categorically conveyed to the Regional Tax Offices (RTOs) and Large Taxpayer Units (LTUs) that the supply of jute bags to government departments is chargeable to sales tax at the rate of 5 percent.

Sources told Business Recorder here on Saturday that the FBR has issued instructions to all RTOs and LTUs to issue a clarification of applicability of sales tax rate on supply of jute bags to government departments under SRO.221(I)/2013, SRO.154(I)/2013 and SRO.1125(I)/2011.

According to the FBR's instructions, M/s Thai Limited's letter No. TL/2013/1451 dated 22-03-2013 on the said subject and to say that the issue of chargeability of sales tax rate on supply of jute bags has been examined in the Board. According to condition (vi) of SRO 1125(1)/2011 dated 31-12-2011 (as amended vide SRO 154(1)12013 dated 28-02-2013 and SRO 221(1)/2013 dated 19-03-2013) supplies of the goods mentioned in the Table to persons outside the five sectors are chargeable to sales tax @ 5 percent. Since government departments do not belong to the five sectors, therefore, supply of jute bags to government departments is chargeable to sales tax @ 5 percent. The instructions have been issued to the field formations including Chief Commissioners of all RTOs/LTUs for information and guidance, the FBR added.



Business Recorder

21 April 2013



Pre-budget meeting with NBRBJMA urges govt to withdraw 5.0pc tax at source on cash subsidy against export


Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA) urged the government Thursday to withdraw 5.0 per cent tax at source on cash subsidy against export of jute products as the government provides the support to encourage exporters.

The association leaders also demanded reduction of tax at source on export earning to 0.40 per cent from present 0.80 per cent to make the jute exporters stay competitive in the international market.

The BJMA leaders made these proposals at a pre-budget meeting with the National Board of Revenue (NBR).  The NBR arranged the meeting with the oil, gas, food, jute, sugar and cloth sectors businessmen. However, none of the representatives from cigarette and bidi sector attended the meeting.

NBR chairman Ghulam Hussain while presiding over the meeting said the NBR has received 10 DO letters signed by members of parliament (MPs) for not increasing tax on bidi sector.

"NBR is flooded with the letters sent favouring bidi industry. It is not that NBR will encourage the bidi sector following those letters," he said.'Should we encourage the bidi and cigarette sector?" he posed a question.

In the meeting, dal (pulses) businesses samity general secretary Safiul Alam said they have to spend increased cost to import Indian dal from Nepal. "Import cost could be reduced if the government negotiates with its Indian counterpart to allow export of dal to Bangladesh," he said.

Cloth Manufacturers Association vice president Ali Akbar said import of finished cloths dropped significantly after the government increased tax to 130 per cent.

"Such high rate of tax is also causing smuggling of cloths and loss of revenue," he added.

BJMA requested the NBR to introduce duty drawback system through banks to ease the procedure, reduce bank interest rates and increase cash incentives to 15 per cent from existing 10 per cent.

AK Alamgir Khan of Bangladesh CNG association said profit margin of CNG companies is not increasing as maintenance cost has increased significantly.



The Financial Express

19 April 2013




Private jute mill owners for facilities similar to those of state-owned ones


Monira Munni

Private jute mill owners have demanded facilities similar to those of state-owned mills as the sector is struggling to survive due to the lack of government policy support, industry people said.

They claim that if the private jute millers get the same facilities as provided to the state-owned ones, both production and export will increase by 25-30 per cent, creating employment opportunities for many.

Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA) and Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association (BJSA), two platforms of private sector jute mills, alleged that private mills have become the victims of the government's 'dual policy'.

"Private jute mills perform better than the public ones but the government supports only the loss-making state-owned mills," a private jute miller told the FE Friday. The government is providing fund to the BJMC (Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation) mills though the corporation is yet to become a holding company, he alleged.

"We are contributing to the national exchequer but are deprived of support," Md Shams-uz-Zoha, chairman of BJSA said. Despite global recession and political crisis in Middle Eastern countries, Bangladesh earns Tk 53.56 billion annually by exporting jute and jute goods, with the private mills' contribution being 80 per cent, he said.

The government has offered financial support worth about Tk 50 billion (Tk 5,000 crore) to the mills run under the BJMC, he said adding that the private jute millers are yet to get the cash incentive worth about Tk 5.0 billion since fiscal year (FY) 2009-10 to FY 2012-13.

The government provides a 10 per cent incentive for the jute sector to inspire the exporters with a view to enhancing the shipment.

The government allocated Tk 3.0 billion against the targeted amount of Tk 3.94 billion as incentives in FY 2009-10 whereas Tk 3.0 billion was allocated against Tk 5.01 billion in FY 2010-11, Tk 4.50 billion against Tk 5.35 billion in FY 2011-12 and Tk 3.50 billion against Tk 5.35 billion in FY 2012-13.

If the government offers the same package to the private entrepreneurs, both production and export earnings would increase by 30 per cent, he noted.

Unlike the readymade garment, frozen food and leather industries, both private and public mills are operating in the jute sector, he said."Private jute millers are facing uneven competition due to the government's dual policy," Mr Zoha said.

Earlier last week, the jute and textiles ministry further requested the finance ministry to take necessary steps of action to implement the recommendations of the advisory committee on jute.

The recommendations include providing the same facilities to the private jute millers as those of the public ones saying the private millers contribute 80 per cent to the jute export earnings.

The recommendations also include facilitating the private jute industries by keeping their previous loan (until June 30, 2011) and its five years' interest in a 'Blocked Account' (BA), with the provision to start repaying the amount after 30 months of the creation of the BA at an 8.0 per cent rate of interest within ten years.

The jute advisory committee's recommendations came in July, 2009 but these are yet to be materialised, Mr Zoha, head of 90 private spinning mills, said.

The jute ministry in its recent letter also recommended for providing fund on easy terms for balancing modernisation, rehabilitation and expansion (BMRE) to replace old machinery and also provide 30 per cent fund of the total capital machinery procurement from the government as provided in the neighbouring country, India.

It also suggested that commercial banks should not offer less than Tk 0.50 for per dollar exchange rate on export price. As an agro-based industry, the jute sector should get loan at 7.0 per cent interest rate, it added. There are about 240 jute mills in the country, of which 120 are under BJMA, 90 under BJSA and 22 under BJMC, according to official data.



The Financial Express

20 April 2013




5810 kgs jute seeds allotted in 2 dists


JAMALPUR, Apr 6: Seeds Marketing Office, a wing of Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) has allotted jute seeds in Jamalpur and Sherpur district this year, reports BSS.According to Seeds Marketing Office sources, some 4,160 kgs local variety of jute seeds and 1,650 kgs of Tosha variety jute seeds were allotted against the requirement target of 3,000 kgs and 14,000 kgs respectively in Sherpur district.

On the other hand, a total of 21,140 kgs of local variety of jute seeds and 14,650 kgs of Tosha variety of jute seeds were allotted against the requirement target of 12,250 kgs and 1,14,500 kgs respectively in Jamalpur district.Md. Hasmat Ali Miah, Deputy Director, Seeds Marketing, said that enough stock of Tosha variety seeds in BADC and the rest requirement of Tosha variety seeds will come soon in the district.Seed Marketing Office said, the seeds will sale to the farmers by its 400 dealers in the two districts. Farmers of the districts can purchase it directly from the two-sale centers-Melandah upazila in Jamalpur and Sherpur Sadar upazila in Sherpur district.



The News Today

21 April 2013



Jute production target fixed in Jamalpur


Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) has fixed the target of jute production in Jamalpur. The department has fixed the jute production target at five lakh bales of jute. The department has set a target to cultivate jute on 47,389 hectares of land in the district this year. According to DAE sources, four varieties of jute are being cultivated in the district this year. The varieties are Deshi, Tosha, Mesta and Kenaf.
The DAE office said, last year 3,19,421 bales of jute was produced on 43,366 hectares of land as jute on 7,728 hectares of land was damaged by flood.
The office said, 6,554 hectares of land with a production target of 56,062 bales of Deshi variety jute, 38,887 hectares of land with a production target of 4,23,868 bales of  Tosha jute, 225 hectares of land with a production target of 1,856 bales of  Mesta jute,  and 1,723 hectares of land  with a production target of 14,215 bales of  Kenaf jute will be brought under cultivation.   
Upazila-wise break-up of land is as follows: Deshi on 475 hectares and Tosha on 1,811 hectares of land in Jamalpur sadar, Deshi on 2,165 hectares of land and Tosha on 4,165 hectares of land in Sarishabari, Deshi on 1,570 hectares of land and Tosha on 12,447 hectares of land in Islampur, Deshi on 190 hectares of land and Tosha on 4,500 hectares of land in Melandah, Deshi on 1,275 hectares of land and Tosha on 6,290 hectares of land in Madarganj, Deshi on 252 hectares of land and Tosha on 4,118 hectares of land in Bakshigonj and Deshi on 627 hectares of land and Tosha on 5,556 hectares of land in Dewanganj.
Seed Marketing Office, a wing of Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC), has allotted jute seed in Jamalpur and Sherpur districts  this year.
According to Seed Marketing Office sources, 4,160 kilograms of Deshi variety seed and 1,650 kilograms of Tosha variety seed were allotted against the requirement target of 3,000 kilograms and 14,000 kilograms respectively in Sherpur district.
On the other hand, 21,140 kilograms of Deshi variety seed and 42,000 kilograms of Tosha variety seed were allotted against the requirement target of 12,250 kilograms and 11,4500 kilograms respectively in Jamalpur district.
When contacted, Md Hasmat Ali Miah, Deputy Director of Seed Marketing, said, “We have available stock of Tosha variety seed in BADC.” Seed Marketing Office sources said, the seeds are being sold to the farmers by its 400 dealers in Jamalpur and Sherpur districts. Besides, farmers can buy seed directly from two sale centres of Melandah upazila of Jamalpur and sadar upazila of Sherpur district.
Crops Production Specialist of DAE, Shafiqul Islam,  said, farmers have already planted Deshi variety jute and plantation of Tosha variety jute seed has been started.



The Independent

16 April 2013




Jute cultivation going on in Mymensingh


MYMENSINGH, APR 16:  The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) has taken up a programme to cultivate jute during the current season in the district DAE sources said; the department has fixed a target of 10,495 hectares of land to cultivate jute with a production target of 95,057 bales. Sources said, the cultivation of jute has been ongoing in all 12 upazilas of the district under the supervision of field level officers of the department. To make the programme a successful, BADC distributed  over 19 metric tones of quality seeds among the jute farmers through their  recognized  dealers and five BADC’s sale centers in Muktagacha, Gafargoan, Nandail, Iswarganj and Phulpur of the district. Deputy Director of BADC (Seed) Subrata Kumar Karmaker told that there is no shortage of seeds during the season in the district. The farmers could easily collect seed they need from the dealers and sale centers. The government allotted a total of 25 metric tones of quality seeds in order to enhance jute production as well as achieve the target of jute production in current season. Over 19 metric tones of seeds have already been distributed among the jute growers So far, sources said. Of the total allotted seeds, 19 metric tones of local variety,  4 metric tones of tusa  and  2 metric tones of Indian variety, said the Deputy Director. Deputy Director of DAE  Narayan Chandra Basak said, 50 percent of the land has already been cultivated so far against the targeted land. In some areas of the district the farmers could not sow jute seeds yet due to drought like situation.



The Independent

17 April 2013



Dundee plans to renew world’s oldest jute mill


A man at work in a Dundee jute factory in 1958. Picture: TSPL

DUNDEE city councillors are being urged to back a new draft planning brief which could pave the way for the oldest operating jute mill in the world to be given a new lease of life.

• Proposals to revitalise Dundee’s Queen Victoria Works and Regent Works area could see the world’s oldest jute mill given new lease of life

• The Queen Victoria Works, known as the High Mill, has lain derelict since 1980s

The Queen Victoria Works, built in 1828, is sited near the western boundary of the Blackness Conservation Area, and has lain derelict since it closed in the late 1980s.

Blackness is the largest inner city industrial area in Dundee and is Scotland’s oldest urban industrial area, granted special conservation area status in 1997.

Part of the Queen Victoria Works complex, which is known as the High Mill, is Category B-listed by Historic Scotland but the mill is currently on the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland due to its condition.

Dundee City Council planners are recommending that councillors adopt a new draft site planning brief for the mill and the Regent Works between Brook Street and Douglas Street to enable the buildings to be redeveloped as high quality homes and offices.

Their report states: “The Queen Victoria Works was an extensive former flax mill which dated from 1828 and is situated towards the western boundary of the Blackness Conservation Area. Until its closure in the late 1980s the mill was the oldest operating jute mill in the world.

“The draft Site Planning Brief has been prepared to stimulate interest for the redevelopment of the site. It supports residential use and a mix of appropriate uses such as small scale commercial workspace. It is considered that a mix of housing and commercial workspace offers a good opportunity to capitalise on the established uses of the wider area and the careful arrangement of buildings and open spaces should buffer any perceived amenity conflicts from adjacent land uses.”

Councillor Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee said: “This is a prominent site in the Blackness Conservation Area with an industrial past stretching back almost two centuries. Although the buildings are likely to be in poor structural condition we would like to see as much of the material as possible salvaged for re-use.

“The local sandstone the mill was built from as well as the slate roof and cast iron columns could be used in a way that reflects the building’s long manufacturing history.”




16 April 2013


Lack of rain delays jute sowing in Assam, Bengal


Sowing of raw jute in early sowing areas of Assam and West Bengal has been slow and delayed due to poor rainfall. Sowing of jute usually starts by March-end and continues till May-end. Sowing requires a hot and humid weather with regular bouts of showers. Jute requires 5-8 cm of rainfall weekly and more during the sowing period, sources said. However, this year, the State has not received adequate showers till now.

According to Manish Poddar, Chairman of Indian Jute Mills’ Association (IJMA), it is still too early to estimate the quantum of sowing this year. “We need rain, the weather is very hot at present,” he said.

The sowing of the crop in the south Bengal districts of Murshidabad and Nadia, which together account for almost 60 per cent of the country’s total jute production, is yet to commence.

Sowing in these districts usually start in end April or early May, sources said.


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a hike of Rs 100 a quintal in the minimum support price for raw jute this 14 season for the TD-5 grade. This is likely to encourage farmers to go in for a higher sowing of the crop this year, Poddar said.

Prices of certified seeds have also dropped by about 37 per cent to Rs 50 a kg this year. “There was ample stock of seeds from last year. This, coupled with the supply of fresh seeds, has brought down prices,” said a senior industry official.

However, despite these favourable factors, sowing of raw jute could be slightly lower this year. “Farmers are looking to grow other remunerative crops such as corn (in north Bengal) and sesame seeds (in Hooghly district),” the official said.

Area under jute cultivation has remained constant at about 9 lakh hectares over the last few years. Bengal accounts for almost 67 per cent of the total area under cultivation at 6 lakh hectares.

Carryover stock

The carry over stock is likely to be close to 27 lakh bales (of 180 kg) this year. “A number of stockists have been holding on to their stock in anticipation of prices appreciating further if rainfall situation does not improve. This has kept prices stable,” an official said.

Raw jute prices are hovering around Rs 3,200 a quintal this month compared with Rs 2,700 in January this year, an official said.



The Business Line

April 14 2013



Govt approves hike in minimum support price of jute


In order to increase production and productivity of jute in the country, the Government has approved an increase in the minimum support price (MSP) of jute by Rs.100 to Rs.2,300 per quintal for 2013-14, reports media.

The Jute Corporation of India would continue to act as the nodal agency to undertake price support operations of the MSP in the jute growing states.

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs also approved the proposal of the Home Ministry for continuation of the Scheme for Special Infrastructure in Left Wing Extremism affected states during the 12th Plan period.

The proposal includes an added objective of upgradation and critical gap filling of training infrastructure, residential infrastructure, weaponry, vehicles and any other related items pertaining to Special Forces of Left Extremism affected states.

The scheme will enhance the security in the region which would provide an enabling environment for development.

The total cost would be 373 crore rupees comprising Rs. 280 Crore as central share and Rs. 93 crore as state government share .


SME Times News Bureau

April 9 2013


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a Rs 100/quintal hike in minimum support price for raw jute on Tuesday.


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a Rs 100/quintal hike in minimum support price for raw jute on Tuesday. However, it deferred key decisions relating to sugar decontrol and reduction of subsidies for non-urea fertilisers.

The decisions were deferred by the Cabinet panel since Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is away in Tokyo to attract foreign investments. The support price for jute for the 2013-14 season for TD-5 grade or the main grade is approved at Rs 2,300 a quintal across the country. This represents an increase of Rs 100 a quintal over the MSP announced by the Government for the last season, an official statement said.

The increase in the support price for raw jute is expected to encourage farmers to step up jute cultivation and thereby production and productivity of the fibre in the country. The Jute Corporation of India (JCI) will continue to act as the nodal agency to undertake price support operations for jute.

Non-Urea subsidy

The issue of decontrolling the sugar sector and reduction of fertiliser subsidies may be taken up at the next meeting of CCEA. The Fertiliser Ministry has proposed a cut in subsidy of the non-urea complexes such as di-ammonium phosphate and muriate of potash for the 2013-14 season in line with the decline in global prices of these nutrients. Under the nutrient based subsidy scheme, the Ministry has proposed subsidy of Rs 20.88 a kg of nitrogen for 2013-14 against last year’s Rs 24 a kg.

Similarly, for phosphorous, the proposed subsidy is Rs 18.68 a kg against last year’s Rs 21.80. For potassium, the subsidy is proposed at Rs 19.5 a kg against Rs 24. However, for sulphur, the subsidy component is likely to be unchanged at Rs 1.68 a kg.

For complexes like di-ammonium phosphate, the proposed subsidy cut is of Rs 2,000 a tonne and Rs 2,700 for muriate of potash for the 2013-14. The subsidy on di-ammonium phosphate is likely to be pegged at Rs 12,350 for 2013-14, down 14 per cent against last year’s Rs 14,350. Similarly, the subsidy for muriate of potash is likely to be pegged at Rs 11,740 a tonne in 2013-14, down 19 per cent against last year’s Rs 14,440 a tonne.


The Business Line

April 2 2013



Political crisis in ME hits jute export


The political crisis in the middle-east particularly in Syria and global sanction on Iran have hit the export market of jute yarn, said Muhammad Shams-uz Zoha, chairman of Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association.
He was speaking at the annual general meeting of the BJSA in the city on Sunday. He said political crisis in Syria resulted in export loss of 28,000-30,000 tonnes of jute yarn. The world sanction on Iran has also hit export of jute yarn. Bangladesh earlier used to 50,000-55,000 tonnes of yarn to Iran a year. Bangladesh's export to Iran has become vulnerable against the backdrop of global sanction on Iran.
Muhammad Shams-uz Zoha, also Director of Shams Group and Supreme Jute and Knitex Ltd, demanded scrapping of 5.00 per cent duty on export cash subsidy in the ensuring national budget.The BJMC mills exported 1.24 lakh tones of jute year valued at 1028.35 crore taka and BJMA exported 1.14 lakh tones of jute yarn valued at 1.14 lakh tonne of jute yarn valued at taka 919.76 crore. The member of BJA exported 22.86 lakh bales of raw jute valued at 1540.66 crore. During 2011-12 fiscal year, total jute goods export stood at 6.96 lakh tonnes valued at taka 5315.13 crore .

During the July-February period of 2012-13 fiscal year, Bangladesh exported 268,000 tonnes of jute yarn valued at taka 1715.20 crore. During same period of 2010-11 fiscal year, Bangladesh exported 255,000 tonnes of jute yarn valued at 1544.85 crore taka. The export of jute yarn increased 5.00 per cent while income rose 10 per cent.A total 92 BJSA member bills have a production capacity of 4.00 -4.5 lakh tonnes . India exports 70,000-80,000 tonnes of jute yarn to the international market. The total world market size is 5.00-6.00 lakh tonnes.

Muhammad Shams-uz Zoha also cautioned that a number of jute spinning are being set up with a production capacity of 2.00 lakh tonnes leading unhealthy competition in the export sector.
With the capacity of new jute spinning mills, the production capacity of jute mils within years will be 9 lakh tonnes that in turn will lead to under cutting among exporters. The export market of jute yarn is now oversaturated, said Muhammad Shams-uz Zoha, new BJSA president. Muhammad Shams-uz Zoha was reelected president of Jute Spinners Association at the AGM held at its office on Sunday.
Zoha said that that Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association (BJSA) 92 member spinning mills, Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) has 27 member spinning mills and Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA) has 109 small and large spinning mills.
The members mills of BJSA exported 458210.27 lakh tones of jute yarn valued at taka 3367.02 crore in 2011-12 fiscal year as against export of 394,389.68 lakh tonnes of jute yarn valued at taka 3396.17 crore in 2010-11 fiscal year. Jute and Textiles Minister Abdul Latif Siddique was present as the chief on the occasion. He said that government will meet the legitimate demands of the BJSA members and disburse the cash incentives among the genuine exporters.


The News Today 

April 2 2013


Earnings from jute sacks, bags rise by 35pc in 8 months


Mkt diversification deemed as main reason 

The country's earnings from export of jute goods increased significantly in the first eight months of the current fiscal year (FY) 2012-13, following a rising demand for the items in some newly-explored markets across the globe, industry people said.

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, the country earned US$ 159.89 million and $329.06 million from export of jute sacks and bags and jute yarn and twine respectively during the period under review.

Earnings from jute sacks and bags increased by over 35 per cent and those from jute yarn and twine increased by nearly 10 per cent during the period over those of the corresponding period.

Exporters said economic meltdown in the European Union (EU), political turmoil in Syria, and sanction on Iran could not hinder export growth of the country's second largest foreign currency earning sector after apparel.

"Our export of jute goods to different new destinations increased notably in recent times due to relentless effort of the exporters for market diversification of those items," Ishara Jute Products Ltd managing director Mahfujul Huq told the FE Sunday.

"There is demand for the items in the new markets, especially in Africa, Sudan, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and some other middle-eastern and African countries."

"However, due to image crisis of Bangladesh and lack of adequate efforts from the government we cannot materialise the opportunity properly," added Mr Huq, also chairman of the Bangladesh Jute Association (BJA). He also pointed out capital shortage of the exporters as another impediment towards achieving potential growth of the sector."We have urged the government several times to make a block allocation of Tk 5.0 billion for the exporters of jute products, which, in turn, would increase earnings from the sector to a substantial extent." "But we are yet to receive any positive response from the government," Mr Huq further added. Shamsul Haque, former marketing director of the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), said people across the world are gradually opting for environment-friendly jute items, which has emerged as a boon for the local exporters.
"The government should now concentrate on finding new markets for jute goods along with renovation and upgradation of local jute mills to cope with the increasing demand for such items," he added.
"The UAE and some other countries are now considering imposing ban on use of artificial shopping bag from next year, considering adverse impact of the item on the environment. We have to capitalise such opportunities to regain the lost heritage of the golden fibre of Bangladesh," he added.
"The UAE will require importing over 11.6 billion shopping bags from the calendar year 2014. If we can export a small portion of the said number of bags, the total export earnings from the jute industry will increase manifold."

Jute and Textiles Minister Abdul Latif Siddique said the government is set to reopen the closed jute mills soon to revive the country's jute industry and the lost glory of the golden fibre.

Source :

The Financial Express

01 April 2013


Jute seeds allotted for Jamalpur, Sherpur


JAMALPUR Mar 28 (BSS): Seeds Marketing Office, a wing of Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) has allotted jute seeds in Jamalpur and Sherpur district this year.
According to Seeds Marketing Office sources, some 4, 160 kg's local variety of jute seeds and 1, 650 kg's of Tosha variety jute seeds were allotted against the requirement target of 3, 000 kg's and 14, 000 kg's respectively in Sherpur district.

On the other hand, a total of 21, 140 kg's of local variety of jute seeds and 14, 650 kg's of Tosha variety of jute seeds were allotted against the requirement target of 12, 250 kg's and 1, 14, 500 kg's respectively in Jamalpur district.

Md. Hasmat Ali Miah, Deputy Director, Seeds Marketing, said that enough stock of Tosha variety seeds in BADC and the rest requirement of Tosha variety seeds will come soon in the district. Seed Marketing Office said, the seeds will sale to the farmers by its 400 dealers in the two districts.

Source :

The Financial Express

29 March 2013


Govt targets 8.5pc rise in jute output next fiscal


Yasir Wardad

The government has targeted to increase jute production by 8.5 per cent in the next fiscal year (FY '14) from that of the current fiscal (FY '13).Some 7.172 million bales (1 bale = 180 kg) of jute was produced in the current FY.Experts concerned, however, think that it will be difficult to achieve the target due to apathy of farmers following lower price of the produce during the harvesting season.

Jute production target has been set as 7.75 million bales (excluding Mesta-Kenuf) at 0.725 million hectares of lands of which Tossa variety comprises 7.19 million bales at 0.66 million hectares in FY '14, an agriculture ministry official said.He said it is nearly 8.5 per cent more than the production achieved in the current fiscal year. The latest data of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) revealed that jute production in FY '13 dropped by 7.09 per cent due to reduced acreage.In FY '12, jute yield was 7.69 million bales at 0.722 million hectares which reduced to 7.172 million bales at 0.67 million hectares in FY '13, an official at BBS said.

He said price debacle in two consecutive years discouraged farmers from jute farming in the last season which may continue in the upcoming season (March-April to August-September).The official said the morale of the farmers should be boosted up at the field level with availability of equipment and assurance of fair price. He said the handsome price of raw jute in FY '10 encouraged farmers to increase jute production.The country got a bumper output of 8.1 million bales of jute in FY '11 at 0.769 million hectares of land thanks to the fair price in previous years, he said.

President of Faridpur-Gopalganj Jute Producers Association Md Obaidur Rahman told the FE that the price of Faridpur's special Tossa variety was Tk 1,150-1,200 during the harvest season in September which is now Tk 2,000-Tk 2,200."Since all profit goes to the pocket of middlemen, why will farmers continue jute farming?" he questioned.

However, farmers of the Faridpur region Sunday placed a 15-point demand to the Prime Minister to protect their interest by ensuring fair price and providing quality seeds, Mr Obaidur informed the FE. Jute seed expert Dr M Sobhan told the FE that the country grows only 1,200 tonnes of jute seed locally out of her demand of 4,500 tonnes.He said locally developed high yielding seeds should be promoted and distributed among the farmers and subsidies should be provided to boost production."Duplicate and low quality Indian seeds are hampering production," he said.

Economist Dr Khandker Mustahidur Rahman said ensuring profitable price is now most important to attract the farmers to the jute sector which contributed more than US$ 1.0 billion to the country's export basket.He said the government's move to form a 'price commission' should be completed soon."Apart from government initiatives, the private sector should also take the lead in the field level research and market promotional activities," he added.

The country's jute industry needs nearly 7.6 million bales of raw jute annually for some 220 jute mills, according to the state-run Department of Jute (DoJ).


The Financial Express



Brazilian minister may visit BD next month


Talha Bin Habib

Brazilian Minister for Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Fermando Pimentel is likely to visit Bangladesh next month aiming to boost bilateral trade and investment, a high trade official said. With this end in view the ministry of commerce (MoC) is going to send a formal invitation letter to him for paying a visit to Bangladesh.

"We are going to send formal invitation letter to him within the next few days to pay a visit to Bangladesh. We believe the visit will help further increase the bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Brazil," Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed told the FE Friday. Brazil, the biggest country in Latin America (LA), maintains excellent political and business ties with Bangladesh. And the two countries could elevate their bilateral relations to new heights for mutual interests.

A high profile Bangladeshi delegation comprising government and private sector representatives visited Brazil, Chile and Colombia from February 16- 27, 2013 to explore market there. Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed led the Bangladesh team. The commerce secretary said Bangladesh has huge potential to boost its exports to several promising export destinations to the countries of LA.

He said that many businessmen of the Latin American countries don't know much about Bangladesh business opportunities. Their recent visit enormously helped them (businessmen) to get the clear picture of Bangladesh's export potential, he said. And they expressed their interest to do business with Bangladesh, he added.

Mr Ahmed said apart from sittings with the private sector and businessmen there, he held meeting with the Brazilian Vice- Minister for Industries and External Trade Affairs Ricardo Chauffeur to gearing up mutual trade and investment."We apprised him of the quality of Bangladeshi products and their price competitiveness," he said. He said that the Brazilian businessmen expressed their keen interest and asked us what types of products we would be able to export to Brazil? We informed them "Bangladesh will be able to export from shirt to ship," he said.