Jute is a vital sector from economical, agricultural, industrial, and commercial point of view in Bangladesh. Once upon a time jute was called the ‘Golden Fibre’ of Bangladesh. It is one of the cheapest and the strongest of all natural fibers and considered as fiber of the future. Jute is second only to cotton in world's production of textile fibers. India, Bangladesh, China and Thailand are the leading producers of Jute. It is also produced in southwest Asia and Brazil. The jute fibre is also known as Pat, Kosta, Nalita, Bimli or Mesta (kenaf). The jute trade is centered mainly on Bangladesh and the Indian State of West Bengal.
The major producing country of jute is Bangladesh, due to its natural fertile soil. Being a major player in the long history of jute trade and having finest natural fiber, Jute sector of Bangladesh has always had an advantage in raw jute trading. Bangladesh is still the largest producer and exporter of raw jute in the world. After the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent state the contribution of the industry to the nation's GDP and in the field of employment declined (in absolute and relative terms).
Basic Jute Products:
Jute is not only a major textile fibre but also a raw material for nontraditional and value added non-textile products. Jute is used extensively in the manufacture of different types of traditional packaging fabrics, manufacturing Hessian, sacking, carpet backing, mats, bags, tarpaulins, ropes and twines. At present, entrepreneurs of the sector are producing around 240 types of jute products. The most basic and essential jute commodities fabricated in Bangladesh jute mills are:
- Jute Canvas
- Sacking Cloth
- Hessian Cloth
- D.W. Tarpaulin
- Jute Bags
- Hydrocarbon free jute cloth
- Serim Cloth
- Tobacco sheets
- Decorative items
- Hessian tapes and gaps
Special Jute Products – Sonali Bag:
The Sonali Bag or Golden Bag is a cellulose-based biodegradable bio-plastic alternative to plastic bags, particularly polythene bags, developed from Jute by Professor Mubarak Ahmad Khan. The biodegradable and more resilient jute poly bags were produced on a trial basis at the state-owned Latif Bawani Jute Mills located in Demra, Dhaka. Fully digestible and environment friendly, the bag lasts for about five hours in water and then begins to melt slowly. Since there is not any harmful chemicals so it increases soil fertility by completely mixing within 5-6 months. It looks like a normal polythene bags of the market, but it is one and a half times more durable and stronger than usual polyethylene bags.
There is currently a global demand for 500 billion deciduous polybags. If jute sonali bag can be produce to meet this demand of the world, it will start a new trend in Bangladesh economy. Private investment should be encouraged alongside the government. Sonali Bags will be hugely popular as an alternative to polythene bags if the cost can be reduce. Currently investing the entire jute produced Bangladesh, it is possible to meet one third of the global demand.
Viscose from Jute:
The jute sector of Bangladesh has potential to produce viscose from jute. Bangladesh currently imports around U$700-800 worth of wood-derived viscose annually, with many mills blending it with cotton to manufacture yarn. A high priority feasibility study for commercial production of viscose from raw jute is underway to meet the growing demand for cotton. The semi-synthetic fiber could be a substitute of cotton. Raw jute was sent to European countries for further feasibility studies by Finnish and Swedish institutions for its possible use for viscose production. Bangladesh is also working closely with China on the technological issues around producing viscose from jute.
Viscose yarns are soft, strong, bright and of highly quality. About 65 per cent cellulose content in jute plants was the basic ingredient of viscose. The Jute sector of Bangladesh, which produces around a third of the world’s jute, has for several years been looking at ways of diversifying its jute sector. In 2015, the BJMC first got the idea of producing viscose from jute and in the next year an expert committee led by then BJMC director Babul Chandra Roy was asked to hold a feasibility study on the issue. A positive outcome of this research would help Bangladesh save foreign exchange equivalent to BD Tk 1,000 crore annually now spent for cotton imports.
There may be investment opportunities in:
- Jute Garments
- Coir Pith
- Jute Twine (Jute Rope) & Gunny Bag from Raw Jute
- Jute Yarn, Jute Sutli & Hessian Cloth Weaving Integrated Unit
- Jute Shopping Bags
- Jute Ropes/Sutli
- Jute Mill (With Spinning & Weaving)
- Activated Carbon Powder from Jute Sticks