In the just concluded fiscal year 2019-20, Bangladesh merchandise exports declined by 16.93% to $33.67 billion
While major export items are struggling to survive the economic hit of the new virus, jute and jute goods are the exception as it posted an 8.10% rise to $882.35 million in FY20.
In the just concluded fiscal year 2019-20, Bangladesh merchandise exports declined by 16.93% to $33.67 billion, according to the data of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
Of the total amount, raw jute earned $130 million, up 15.48% from last year’s export receipts. Jute yarn and twine, the largest contributor to the sector, fetched $564.26 million, posting a 10.12% growth compared to the previous fiscal year.
On the other hand, jute sack and bags saw a 28.58% surge to $106.54 million in the just concluded fiscal year.
Since the export earnings from leather and leather goods this time registered a 21.79% fall to $798 million, the jute and jute goods sector has emerged as the second largest export earner after the RMG sector.
Talking on the performance of jute and jute goods export, sector people attributed the rise to the enhanced global demands, better prices, and upgradation of machinery by the private sector.
“With the growing pressures from the environmentalists on the impact of global warming, demands for green products keep rising gradually in the US and other European Union markets,” Md Rashedul Karim Munna, managing director of Creation Private Limited, a jute goods manufacturer, told Dhaka Tribune.
On the other hand, local manufacturers adapted upgraded technology to meet the requirement of buyers, which helped exporting more environment-friendly jute goods, said Munna.
Besides, diversified jute goods are another window, which earned better prices as people are increasingly using these goods to decorate their homes, he maintained.
Private sector welcomes government decision
On Thursday, the government decided to shut its 25 state-owned jute mills under the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC).
Private sector people have welcomed the government decision.
“The global demand for jute and jute goods are better than it was in the past. The prices are also better than those of previous times. Despite the crisis period due to Covid-19, exports from the sector fared much better,” Md. Zahid Miah, Director of Jobaida Karim Jute Mills said.
“We welcome the government decision of shutting down the mills as the government has plans to make the mills vibrant through the private public partnership(PPP) initiative,” said Zahid.
“Amid the coronavirus crisis, the rise in export earnings from the jute and jute goods is an exceptionally bright prospect. Private sector has played an important role to this end,” Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Research Director Khondaker Golam Moiazzem said.
Since the government has decided to shut its mills, the jute sector will survive with dominance in the global export markets through private sector people, hoped the economist.
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