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Implementation of mandatory packaging law will help increase exports of jute goods

27 September 2022
Implementation of mandatory packaging law will help increase exports of jute goods

The production of jute textiles has fallen significantly over the past two years due to a drop in exports and the government's failure to strictly impose the mandatory packaging law that led to decreased domestic demand. As a result, a number of jute textile millers in the country have been either forced to shut down their factories or operate at below capacity. Rough yet extremely durable and breathable, jute fabrics can be found in everything from sacks, bags, carpet backing to upholstery.

Overall production of jute textiles was 2.43 lakh tonnes in fiscal 2021-22, down by about 28 per cent compared to 3.39 lakh tonnes the previous year. Similarly, production in fiscal 2020-21 was 12 per cent less than what it was the year before. The government is yet to frame rules making the use of jute sacks mandatory for packing commodities even though the related law was enacted a decade ago. In 2010, the government enacted the packaging law to increase the use of environment-friendly jute goods instead of polythene or polypropylene bags.

In fiscal 2021-22, the total export of jute yarn and twine declined 13 per cent while that of jute sacks and bags fell 14 per cent. Due to unrestrained stocking by middlemen, raw jute prices were unstable in the last two years, leading to high prices of jute products in foreign markets. Bangladesh once had a big market in Turkey but the transcontinental nation is now leaning towards cotton products considering the high price of locally-made jute textiles. In addition, the anti-dumping duty imposed by India is also hampering the country's exports.

It is feared that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war will hamper exports even further in the next fiscal year as the two countries are big markets for Bangladesh. The government should try to promote the golden fibre by implementing supportive policies as the industry was facing hurdles on both domestic and international levels. Economists urged the government to be strong in implementing the packaging law as it will surely face push backs from plastic producers that now hold positions in different trade bodies and the government itself.  

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