They made the observation at seminar organized by DCCI
Speakers at seminar on Monday said the country needs more research and innovation for jute seed production and diversification.
As use plastic bags are being discontinued worldwide, Bangladesh can capitalize on the opportunity and export jute bags, they said, while speaking at a seminar on Diversification of Jute Goods for the Development of this Industry: Opportunities and Challenges, organized by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) at its office.
Attending as the chief guest at the event, Minister for Textiles and Jute Golam Dastagir Gazi said: "Due to worldwide discontinuation of plastic bags our jute has a huge opportunity to tap this market. We need more research and innovation for jute seed production and diversification."
He also urged to increase the demand of jute and jute goods in the local market, adding: "We are looking for a suitable place in Motijheel where we can establish a permanent display centre [of jute goods]."
Chairing the seminar, DCCI President Osama Taseer, said Bangladeshi jute goods have demand in about 60 countries.
"Bangladesh earned over $1 billion from jute and jute goods export," said Osama, adding that to increase export of jute and jute goods, "we have to focus more on diversification".
"Presently, about 235 types of jute goods are being made by our entrepreneurs," he furthered adding that coordination between jute industry and textile industry is needed for optimum result.
"About 500,000 people are directly engaged with jute sector of Bangladesh, but we need a skilled workforce in this sector. We need to think how we can use technology of the fourth industrial revolution for the development of this sector," Osama explained.
He said in order to revive the jute sector and to encourage making paper from jute pulp, it is important to formulate the Jute Pulp and Paper Act. "We believe jute is the next promising industry after RMG [ready-made garment]. Policy incentive and innovation will take it further."
Hossain Zillur Rahman, former adviser to a caretaker government and executive chairman of Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) said jute can become a new growth driver for the economy.
In his keynote presentation, DCCI Director Rashedul Karim Munna said annual demand of shopping bag is 500 billion pieces worldwide.
"According to the International Jute Study Group, the market size of jute bags will reach $2.6 billion by 2021," he added.
He also recommended investment friendly policies, skills development, specialized jute mills, increasing branding in the international market, and facilitating jute growers for the development of the sector.
Discussants at the seminar also urged for low cost raw materials, investment for seed production, research for figuring out the market demand, single digit loan facility for jute entrepreneurs, and strengthening of Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI).