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A golden opportunity

  • Published at 01:04 am July 18th, 2018

After years of synthetic fibres being in vogue, jute has been making a comeback

Jute is synonymous with Bangladesh.

After years of synthetic fibres being in vogue, jute has been making a comeback, with renewed interest in jute and jute-related products all over the world accounting for earning more than $1 billion in exports over the last fiscal.

This is excellent news.

One of the shortcomings of our economy has been the lack of diversity in products, having relied heavily on our RMG sector -- the global competition for which is slowly increasing -- for far too long. 

But jute presents an opportunity to go beyond that.

As the record export earnings attest, there is a global interest in the fibre, and the government should recognize that and put in place the appropriate policies to help the industry thrive.

To that end, the establishment of the newly announced Jute Sector Development Fund will prove instrumental. Through the fund, jute farmers, traders, entrepreneurs, and exporters of jute and jute-related products are set to be eligible for loans at interest rates ranging from 2% to 5%.

But there are a few holes which need to be plugged in the draft policy. For one thing, the policy does not currently have any provision which would provide jute merchants with additional benefits from the Green Transformation Fund, which already provides RMG producers with additional funding for following green practices in their production processes.

Jute, being a naturally green product, stands to benefit even more if welcomed into this fold, and Bangladesh would do well to embrace environmentally-friendly trends in the global market.

The golden fibre is the future -- let us seize this opportunity.