Leather traders said very few customers were visiting their stalls and pavilions
Jute goods are in high demand at the month-long Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF), as buyers prefer products made from the natural fibre than leather items or goods from artificial materials.
Visiting stalls and pavilions at the fair, people were found preferring jute products to leather goods as customers said prices of the latter was higher despite being produced locally.
Leather traders said very few customers were visiting their stalls and pavilions.
Pavilion of local jute manufacturer Karupannya Rangpur Ltd Satranji was seen attracting customers with over 100 types of jute goods including bag, doormat, carpet, plant pot, penholder, flower vase, jar and many more on display.
Prices of these goods range from Tk165 to as high as Tk4,000, with many products coming with buy-one-get-one offer.
Sabirunnessa from Khilgaon bought two Satranji rugs and two doormats from the Karupannya pavilion.
"I prefer jute products over plastic ones, which is why I come here every year and buy new jute items for my home as they are comfortable," she said.
“We all should buy locally-made products,” she said, adding, “As a result, the producers will be inspired to produce more jute products.”
Abdul Jalil, sales executive at Karupannya pavilion, said customers preferred jute items to other materials and the number of customers were increasing.
"Some foreigners came to our stall the other day and bought jute products worth Tk15,000," he added.
Low attendance, fewer export orders
Jalil said Karunpannya did not receive any export order from this year's fair yet, but received export orders after the fair concluded in 2019.
"Those orders were from 50 countries," he mentioned.
People also flocked to the Jute Diversification Promotion Centre, under the Ministry of Textiles and Jute, which is displaying over 50 types of jute items, priced between Tk50 and Tk5,000.
“We brought jute thread and jute-made bags of different designs from our factory. We exported 25,000 bags and 250 jute products after receiving orders from last year's DITF. This year we did not get any export order so far. We received a local order for 30 bags so far,” said Fazle Rabbi, sales executive of Bag Bazar.
Leather goods proving luxurious
Customers were few at stalls and pavilions selling leather items.
Hridoy Hasan, manager of Intake Green Discovery, a stall selling local leather goods, said the lowest price at their stall was Tk2,000.
"That is why customers come and leave after looking at the price tags," he added.
“We have items made from four varieties of leather - cow, goat, sheep and buffalo. Generally, we export leather, but we have not received any export orders so far," said Ibrahim Mondol, a salesman of Annex Bangladesh, another leather goods producer.
"Our stall sells shoe, money bag, belt, ladies purse, bag, key ring and other items made from leather which are sold ranging from Tk100 to Tk10,000," said a sales executive of People's Footwear and Leather Goods.
Shamima Akter and Alfaz Uddin Chowdhury, two doctor siblings from Cox's Bazar, bought a small leather purse from the People's Footwear and Leather Goods stall. They complained of their high prices.