Jute millers have asked the government to follow in the footsteps of Bangladesh that has adopted an aggressive approach to support its jute sack industry and promote consumption of the product.
In a statement, Pakistan Jute Mills Association (PJMA) Secretary General Mohammad Younus pointed out that Bangladesh’s Appellate Division of the Supreme Court had supported their government’s decision to make use of jute bags necessary for rice packaging.
This step was taken to provide assistance and protect the jute sack industry from polypropylene or plastic bags.
“Dhaka has already issued orders, making it mandatory to use jute sacks for storage of wheat grains. It is also providing a 7% cash subsidy on export of jute goods,” he said.
However, he regretted that Pakistan’s government was continuously neglecting the sector, which was supporting more than 125,000 people directly and indirectly.
“The cost advantage can easily be noticed from the fact that the government is purchasing six to seven times more polypropylene bags compared to jute sacks because of the former’s limited reuse capability,” he said.
“Had the government accepted the request made in pre-budget proposals, it would have reduced the risk of contamination of food grains and other environmental hazards associated with synthetic packaging.”
Also, Pakistan could have earned green credit like the countries that have adopted eco and human-friendly packaging.
Jute is considered as the best fibre for the storage of wheat and other grains worldwide as natural fibres keep the grain quality intact for a longer time and protect them from sunlight and heat.
Younus stressed that jute sacks could prove beneficial in Pakistan – a country where there was a serious lack of proper bulk handling facilities.
Jute sacks have the advantage of recycling as torn bags can be sewn with sutra (jute chords). However, in the case of polypropylene bags, wastage disposal is a major concern.
The recycling of these bags is forbidden throughout Europe because they release carcinogenic oxides in the atmosphere.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2014.
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