Export earnings from jute and jute goods witnessed a fall by 20.41% to $816.27 million in the just concluded fiscal year despite government efforts to restore the lost glory of what used to be called the country’s golden fibre.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), in the last fiscal year, Bangladesh export earnings from jute and jute goods fell to $816.27 million from $1.02 billion in last fiscal year.
Of the total amount, raw jute earned $112.48 million, down by 27.75% from $155.68 million. Jute yarn and twine, the largest contributor to the sector, fetched $512.42 million posting a 20.89% negative growth compared to previous year’s earnings of $647.72 million. On the other hand, jute sack and bags saw a 32.54% decline to $83 million, which was $123 million and other products earned $108.51 million, which is 9.24% higher compared to previous year’s earnings of $99.33 million.
Expressing deep concern over the down trend in export earnings from jute and jute goods, the sector people have blamed the anti dumping duty by India and slump in demands in global market.
“A good quantity of jute and jute goods including sacks and fabrics are exported to India. But it saw decline due to imposition of anti-dumping duty on import of jute goods from Bangladesh,” Md Rashedul Karim Munna, managing director of Creation Private Limited, a jute goods manufacturer, told Dhaka Tribune.
In 2017, the Indian government imposed anti-dumping duty ranging from $6.30 to $351.72 per ton on imports of jute and its products from Bangladesh and Nepal to protect local industry. This duty will remain effective for the next five years.
As a result, export earnings from the sector saw a down trend in the last fiscal year, he added.
“On the other hand, US dollar appreciated against Indian rupee, which enabled Indian jute goods makers to offer lower prices than those offered by Bangladesh. As a result, global buyers shifted sourcing destination from Bangladesh, as our manufacturers lost competitive edge in the global market,” said Munna.
Besides, global economic slowdown has caused cuts in demands for goods, while political instability in Syria and Turkey is another reason.
“Turkey is the number one market for Bangladeshi jute yarn, used for carpet industry mainly. But due to the economic crisis of Turkey, the carpet industry is suffering, which affected the demands of yarn negatively,” Shahidul Karim, general secretary of the Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association, told Dhaka Tribune.
Demands for raw material and raw jute in jute industry fell due to closure of jute mills in different countries such as Pakistan, which now had only three to four mills out of about 15 in the past, said the business leader.
How to turn around
“It is quite possible to revive the heritage of jute as the government has enough willingness and taken numerous initiatives,” Shahidul Karim said.
“As the supply is more than demands, we have to move for industrial diversification along with the product diversification,” he suggests.
European Union and a good number of states in the United States were going to ban use of polythene and plastics products and move towards environment-friendly jute products, said Rashedul Karim Munna.
In addition, uses of jute diversified goods in home decor and domestic purpose were growing and Bangladesh could take the lead as it had enough raw materials, Munna mentioned.