Let’s not neglect jute any longer

Transform this fledgling industry into a significant contributor to our exports

It is very encouraging to see Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself comment on the state of the jute industry in Bangladesh, hitting the nail on the head when she proclaimed that despite being an environment-friendly agricultural product, jute did not get the expected attention and incentives like the RMG (readymade garments) industry.

It is indeed a shame that, despite the enormous potential that jute holds, we have continued to fail in transforming this potential into a viable export industry for the country. What is more disappointing is that this failure to recognize its potential has translated to it being mostly ignored, as we scramble to find newer products to add to our export basket.

It is time we lean into what was once rightfully the golden crop for Bangladesh, and explore all options to bring the industry to the place it deserves to be. As the PM identified, this starts with the right policy and incentives so that there is a level playing field.

With the world looking for more and more sustainable options, and with the range of products that can be manufactured from jute, it is time for sufficient resource allocation, be that monetary or research, to ensure that we don't fail to grab hold of this opportunity.

It's still not too late to transform this fledgling industry into becoming a significant contributor to our exports, but in order to do that, we must stop neglecting the sector and start prioritizing it the way we should have from the very beginning.