The golden fibre could be entering a golden age.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina deserves praise for taking the lead in exploring the potentials of jute and restoring it to its rightful place in the Bangladesh economy.
“The golden days of jute will make a comeback,” she said in her speech marking National Jute Day -- indeed, now is the perfect time to focus on expanding the jute sector.
The world has already seen Bangladesh’s exporting power, particularly with ready-made garments, but in order to keep up, we must diversity.
Jute is the perfect product to help us grow further.
It is unfortunate that the sector has taken so many hits since our independence -- a particularly detrimental move was the closing down of the Adamjee Jute Mill in 2002.
But now is the time to reopen jute mills across the country, boost production, and increase diversification in jute products.
As the PM has said, the fate of the people of the country is inextricably tied to the success of jute.
New products such as jute charcoal and jute tea will let the industry explore new markets, and more traditional products such as jute bags will find a new generation of consumers.
As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, a preference for jute over plastic products is also increasing.
Bangladesh must take advantage of these eco-friendly consumer trends in the world market.
The opportunities for jute are there for taking.
Let jute enrich the Bangladesh economy, and take us forward in 2017.