BUSINESS

Exports of jute products to cross Rs 600 cr

Jute
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KOLKATA: Despite challenges in procuring quality raw jute, exports of diversified products made of the golden fibre are expected to grow over 10 per cent to cross the Rs 600 crore mark in the current financial year, stakeholders say.

“The trend of exports, as well as domestic consumption of jute diversified products, including floor coverings, hand and shopping bags, wall hangings, decorative fabrics and others have been encouraging. Last year, the export growth of these products was less than 10 per cent and, in the current fiscal, the exports are expected to grow by over 10 per cent,” said National Jute Board (NJB) Joint Director Susant Pal.

According to NJB’s latest data, the exports of value-added products stood at Rs 572.61 crore during the first 11 months of last financial year (2017-18), against Rs 590.95 crore in the entire 2016-17 fiscal. The data also suggested that products worth Rs 483.87 crore were shipped out in 2013-14 and this grew to Rs 562.4 crore in 2015-16.

The United Kingdom and the United States have been the largest buyers of diversified Indian jute products. The two countries account for about 50 per cent share of total exports while exports to the European Union and the Middle East, as also Japan, are also growing; but in value terms, these are not so big, the official said. Among various diversified jute products, floor coverings have a share of about 45 per cent while hand and shopping bags constitute around 50 per cent share of total exports.

The Standing Advisory Committee (SAC) on jute, at its 25th meeting, had suggested the reservation of jute sacking for packaging foodgrain should be reduced by a nominal five percentage points each year to bring the reservation level to 50 per cent by 2024-25 in view of the need to draw up a roadmap for diversification. “This recommendation was not approved by the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs because the gradual reduction in reservation of jute sacking bags for packing of food grains and sugar over the years could impact livelihood of four lakh farmers,” a Textiles Ministry official said on condition of anonymity. (IANS)