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Jute, jute goods export sharply declines this fiscal

By Special Correspondent
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The country's jute and jute goods export recorded a sharp fall  in the current fiscal  year  (2013-1014). The reasons can be attributed to depreciation of Indian  Rupee on  the one hand and sluggish demand in the world market on the other.
The export earning fell  by about 30 per cent during the period, according to  Export Promotion Bureau(EPB) information. The country earned about US $592 million in July-January period as against US $646 million in the corresponding period of last fiscal year, EPB source told the media.
During the last few months India which has been importing between 55-60 per cent of the country's raw jute, has reduced the  volume   of its imports causing  decline in export.
Iran, another export destination of jute and jute goods has  slashed import  of jute following sanctions by western countries, they said.  The instability in Syria and Egypt have also contributed to decline in export  of jute and jute goods, they said adding export to Pakistan has also  suffered.  
India imported around 40,000 bales during the first seven months of the current fiscal (2013-14) as against 8.9 lakh bales of raw jute during 2012-2013), EPB source said.
When contacted Chowdhury Sabbir Yusuf, Chairman, Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association told The New Nation on Sunday  that export market for jute and jute goods has been reducing also  for European economic recession and  prevailing  political  situation in Middle East. The export market of jute and jute goods  to countries like Iran and  Syria  has become uncertain, he said. Iran, he said used to import  about 70,000 tons of jute and jute goods annually while Syria's  import  was about   40,000 tons of jute and jute goods. But export to those countries has become uncertain, he said.  Expressing disappointment over the situation, Sabbir Yusuf said the situation is not likely  to improve in near future.
China, Vietnam and European countries- the other traditional  importers of jute and jute goods have also imported reduced quantity of jute and jute goods due to recent political unrest in the country, another source  said adding some of the millers have cut down the price of their products to retain  their markets.
The importers have been offering lower prices of jute and jute  goods following  decline in demand, another source said adding  sometimes the importers are offering prices below the production cost.
One ton of jute yarn is selling at around US $ 1000 as against $1100-1150 in the previous financial year, the source said.  Some exporters however, blamed absence of modern machinery and lack of research and development activities on jute goods for actual growth of the sector.  
Meanwhile, demand has been raised by jute producers ands exporters  to increase local consumption  of jute through implementation of Jute Packaging Act.
" If the local demand increases, a  huge amount of foreign  exchange would be saved  which is spent for import of plastic  and synthetic goods," another source said adding  India started mandatory use of jute since  1987. Though Bangladesh enacted the mandatory jute  packaging act in 2010, the law is yet to be implemented.
If the government  does not take urgent  steps to save the farmers, he said, the production will suffer in the coming days. The exporters  urged the concerned authorities also to explore new markets for jute and jute goods to save the sector from ruination.
Presidential elections are scheduled for 25 May.

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