The government has taken a move to assess the stock of raw jute in the country amid a supply crunch and the historic high price of the golden fibre on the local market.
The Department of Jute on Thursday asked its field-level officials to assess the stock of raw jute preserved at warehouses of jute dealers, hoarders, balers, traders and mills.
Jute officials were also asked to collect a number of information, including the names of traders and mills, their taxpayers’ identification numbers, status of licences, initial stocks up to July 1, 2020, current stocks up to January 28, 2021, tenure of current stocks and names of firms from which jute were purchased, and send them by today.
Traders said that the price of jute soared up to Tk 5,000 a maund on the local market on Sunday.
The country has never witnessed such a surge in the jute price, they said.
Officials said that the DoJ took the move following the shortage of raw jute on the domestic market in a bid to rein in the situation and keep the market stable.
The market is experiencing an unprecedented crisis in terms of both supply and price due to production loss because of floods and the cyclone Amphan in the country, they said.
Earlier on January 25, the department issued a set of instructions prohibiting hoarding of jutes over 1,000 maund for a period of over one month by licence holding traders and firms.
It also said that no individual or firm would be able to carry out jute trade without licence.
The department issued the instruction as per the decision of the textiles and jute ministry to ensure adequate supply of the item on the market.
The Bangladesh Jute Mills Association and the Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association have been demanding measures to control the market to save the industry.
Shahid Hossain Dular, a trader and negotiator of jute in Narayanganj, told New Age that there was severe scarcity of jute on the market and the product was selling for Tk 4,5005,000 a maund.
He attributed the price hike to the shortage of supply and increase in export of the item.
‘There is no control over the price and the government should set the price at Tk 3,000 a maund to save the local industry,’ he said.
Farmers are not getting the benefit of the price hike as they have hardly any stock of jute while the middlemen are profiting from the high price, he said.
Prabir Saha, a trader at Madhukhali of Faridpur, told New Age that the price of raw jute reached Tk 4,800 a maund on Sunday.
The price was Tk 4,000-4,200 a maund a week ago, he said.
Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association secretary general Shahidul Karim said that there was an abnormal situation on the market as the price was skyrocketing.
Only large mills are capable of buying raw jute, he said, adding that the smaller mills cannot buy the raw materials.
Jute growers are not getting the benefits of the high price as they have hardly any jute on their hands, he said.
Production of jute products will become costlier and the jute sector will further lose competiveness to synthetic bags, he added.
Industry insiders, however, blamed the ministry and the department for the situation saying that they had failed to act promptly and had ignored recommendations from millers and spinners to the control the soaring prices.
The BJSA had demanded imposition of duty on export, prevention of hoarding and implementation of stringent monitoring arguing that the price might go up due to lower production, they said.
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