Although, climate has awarded Bangladesh with the opportunity to turn to be the natural home of the best quality jute, the country's jute sector is losing its lustre over the years instead of its immense contribution to the national employment that measures up to 10-15 per cent. It is not that the demand for jute in the international market is on the wane. In fact, it is completely the opposite because of the world's leader countries' awareness of climate issue that the synthetics used in lieu of jute goods are not eco-friendly. The country --- although the country produces large chunk of raw jute and the second exporter of jute and jute products to international markets --- is gradually losing the hold of the string because of our failure to address the issues behind it which hold back the progress of the sector.
The decoding of genome sequence of jute by Bangladeshi scientist was expected to design rational strategies for disease control and develop fungus-resistant crops and seeds. The government also highly applauded the project which prospected a cost-effective way to produce more endurable jute crops. But, no visible guidance and even any talks regarding this have been seen till date. How the Prime Minister's note that the golden fibre of Bangladesh will bring back our golden smile will come true remains bizarre. However, raw jute produced from inferior quality Indian seeds is of low quality. As a result, demand for our jute products is declining in the international markets. Bangladesh falls short of jute seed. So, it has to depend on India for a huge amount of low quality seeds. Self-reliance in jute seed production could have been achieved if the genome code invention could be applied with the government's direct support.
The present government passed a law making the use of jute packaging mandatory in manufactured goods both in the private and public sectors. But the law did not improve the situation in any way. On the other hand, banned polythene bags are seen in every shopper's hand. Corruption in the sector, shutting down of jute mills one after another and throwing thousands of people unemployed for this reason have also hastened the ruination of a promising sector. Also, the sector is allotted only 10 per cent subsidy whereas India allots twice more than us.
The sector could be revived and reinvigorated through diversification of jute goods which will minimize the reliance on synthetic products. Again, the expansion of demand for our jute and jute products in the international markets will help us win the race of being the top exporter country once again. The government will have to address the jute issues expeditiously.