Jute farmers are deprived of many benefits even though they earn 100% foreign exchange from raw jute exports, experts said today.
Speakers also called for a waiver in bank loans to protect the jute, tea, leather and export-processed food industries at a function organized in the Osmania Auditorium in the capital on the occasion of the "National Jute Day-2022".
Calls were made at the event for the abolition of 2% source tax on raw jute, prevention of anti-dumping duties imposed by India and the formation of the Jute Sectoral Development Fund to provide low interest loans and 30% subsidy like in India for the modernisation of the diversified jute goods machineries.
Speaking on the occasion held with the slogan "Golden Land of Golden Fibre, Bangladesh of Jute Products", Textile and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi said, "Diversified jute products have created huge potential for export abroad, with value addition of these products up to 1-500 times."
The minister also pointed out that there were currently 282 products made with jute.
He said the use of jute bags had increased in the domestic market, but recently various jute crops were not being bought as before, as jute cultivation had decreased a little.
"This is why the price of jute has gone up from Tk2,000 to Tk3,800 this year. I am trying to reduce the price," he said.
Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzak, speaking as the chief guest, said, "Our jute has potential, but the products are not being marketed. Because India is endangering us politically through anti-dumping policies. So we have to survive in the competition against them. At present, better seeds are being produced with biotechnology here than in India. Jute seeds will not be imported from India after three years."
The minister also said that globally the use of jute charcoal for production of inks, among other things, was growing, touting jute as being the most environmentally-conscious option. "I will appeal to the government to provide a 20% subsidy for the export of jute products," he said.
Secretary of the Ministry of Jute and Textiles Abdur Rauf was also present on the occasion. At the event, awards and honours were given to 11 individuals and organisations for their contribution to the jute sector.