PM urges to make jute sector profitable

151

Dhaka, Mar 06: Announcing incentives for the private sector to boost production and export of jute and jute goods, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon all concerned to take effective steps for making the jute sector profitable to sustain the jute industry.“Jute is such a product, nothing of which is wasted. So, why it will count losses … I don’t want to hear (any) loss (from it) and attention will have to be given on how the industry could be made profitable,” she told the inaugural function of the National Jute Day-2019 and Diversified Jute Products Fair at Bangabandhu International Conference Center in Dhaka on Wednesday.

“I believe that we will be able to make the sector profitable by innovating new products … I’m not with the people who are pessimistic, I’m always optimistic,” she added.

The prime minister said that the government support for the development of the sector will continue. “But we want to give more importance to the private sector. As much as the private sector will come forward, the jute industry will be flourished to that extent,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said her government is giving incentives to other sectors for accelerating the pace of the country’s development. “We will also provide incentives to those involved in the jute sector so that they can export more jute products,” she also said.

“As other export-oriented products are getting incentives, the jute products will also receive such incentives,” she added.

The Ministry of Textiles and Jute organized the function with Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi in the chair.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Textiles and Jute Ministry Mirza Azam was the special guest at the function, while secretary in-charge of the ministry Mizanur Rahman delivered the welcome address.

Ministers, secretaries to the prime minister, parliament members, foreign diplomats, and high civil and military officials were present at the function.

The Jute Day is being observed across the country today with the slogan of “Sonali Asher Sonali Desh, Jatir Pitar Bangladesh”.

Referring to her government’s various steps for development of the jute sector, the prime minister said the fate of the people, particularly farmers, is linked with it.

She said the jute mill owners who were once frustrated are now feel encouraged due to the pragmatic measures of the government.

“We want the golden days of Golden Fiber to be brought back and more entrepreneurs come forward to this end,” she said, adding: “We could earn more foreign currencies and increase employment through it.”

The premier put emphasis on fixing the quantity of the jute production by determining the demand so that farmers and manufacturers do not count any losses.

“We have previously noticed that farmers faced losses as a result of too much production of jute. On the other hand, we also witnessed at other times, too less production hampered the manufacturing of jute products,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said this means that demand should dictate the quantity of production and this will ensure that neither farmers nor manufacturers face any losses.

The prime minister laid importance on focusing more on the diverse usage of jute and conducting more research on it.

“As the second largest jute producing country in the world, we have to focus more on the diverse usage of jute. We also need to invest more in the research of this sector and tap into more export markets for the fiber,” she said.

Now the golden days of jute are making a comeback, she said, adding more and more people around the world are becoming aware of the environmental concerns involved with the use of artificial fibers and opting for natural fibers such as jute.

The prime minister urged the investors from home and abroad to set up product-specific industrial areas or special zones for development and expansion of jute products.

“We’ve formulated the Export Policy 2018-2021 and in the light of this, we invite investors

from home and abroad to invest more in setting up product-specific industrial areas or special zones so that we can develop the jute sector further and tap into a plethora of new export markets,” she said.

Placing emphasis on branding the “Golden Fiber” globally, Sheikh Hasina said there is now a growing demand for eco-friendly jute and jute products as a result of heightened awareness about environmental issues.

“By extending the cultivation of jute and usage of jute products, we can play an important role in this environmental movement,” she said.

The premier said recently, the method to produce jute polymer from jute has been discovered.

“This is being used to create an alternative to plastic bags known as ‘Golden Bags’ and I urge all concerned to help expedite the wider usage of Golden Bags,” she said.

The prime minister said the people of the country struggled for eras for fair prices of jute.

“Bangabandhu incorporated the demand for fair prices of jute in his all movements including the Language Movement and 1954 Juktofront’s polls,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said jute was also a major issue in Bangladesh Awami League’s 1970 election manifesto.

In the post-independence Bangladesh, she said, 90 percent of the country’s foreign earnings came from the jute sector.

However, the sector faced a crisis period partly due to the advent of artificial fibers and the step-motherly attitude to the sector by the military dictators who grabbed power illegally after Bangabandhu’s assassination, she said.

For increasing production and internal usage, ensuring fair prices and preserving the environment, the premier said her government has formulated the “Mandatory Jute Packaging Act, 2010” and “Mandatory Jute Packaging Rules, 2013”.

“Our government has also made mandatory the use of jute in packaging for 19 items, including paddy, rice, wheat, maize, fertilizer, sugar, spices etc,” she said.

By the implementation of this law, Sheikh Hasina said, the internal demand of jute sacks per year has been increased by nearly 150 crore units.

“To diversify the eco-friendly jute products, the government has established the Jute Diversification Promotion Centre (JDPC),” she said.

The prime minister said apart from the traditional products such as thread, sacks, bags and carpets, jute is now being used for the production of fabrics, cushion covers, carpets, sarees etc.

Sheikh Hasina said winter clothes are also being produced by mixing jute with wool. Jute crust is being used to produce high-quality carbon while Jute stalks can also be used for producing toiletries, medicine, paint etc, she said.

The premier said the National Jute Day is being celebrated for the third time aimed at promoting and flourishing the jute sector in an integrated manner.

“On this special day, I congratulate all involved with the cultivation, production, marketing and use of jute and jute products,” she said.

At the function, the prime minister handed over awards to 14 individuals and organizations for their contributions to developing the jute sector.

Later, she opened the Diversified Jute Products Fair on the BICC premises and visited different stalls of the fair.