Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Sep 29, 2005
Agri-Biz & Commodities
Industry & Economy - Exports & Imports
Jute exports on the upswing
Kolkata , Sept 28
JUTE exports from India during the first five months of the current fiscal is up by 22 per cent, according to Mr Arun Bal, Secretary of Jute Manufactures Development Council (JMDC).
He was talking to reporters after attending the 80th annual general meeting of the Gunny Trades Association. Mr R.C. Tiwari, Chairman and Managing Director of Jute Corporation of India Ltd (JCI) was also present.
"We are hoping to continue with this growth for the rest of the year too. We are targeting several new markets. We would be sending delegations to different parts of the globe," Mr Bal said. In 2004-05, jute exports totalled Rs 1,140 crore.
A delegation from JMDC would soon be visiting to the Latin American countries. According to Mr Bal, the team would be touring Argentina, Chile and Peru. There is a great potential for the hydro-carbon free food grade jute bags for the cocoa producers of these countries.
Another JMDC delegation would be visiting Iran and Turkey in February, next year. He said that there is a great demand for Indian jute yarn in these two markets.
Mr Bal, however, criticised the West Bengal jute industry for not showing enough interest in modernisation. According to him, the jute sector in Andhra Pradesh has got more government subsidies on capital investment on machinery than their counterparts in Bengal.
JMDC also criticised the several jute industry organisations for not forwarding any proposal as a substitute of the DEPB (duty entitlement pass book scheme) or the EMA (external marketing assistance).
"Both DEPB and EMA would be withdrawn by the Union Commerce Minister in the next few years. We have asked for proposals which can replace these schemes but we are yet to get a single," he said.
Talking on the proposed pilot project on jute geo-textiles in the road sector, Mr Bal said, the tenders had been floated. There would be 10 such projects and it would be carried out in Orissa, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Assam.
He denied that JCI has quoted a price of Rs 1,500 a quintal for raw jute. About ten days, the mill owners threatened to go for temporary closure or their units to protest against the "arbitrary" pricing of raw jute by JCI.
Mr Tiwari went on to say that till now JCI has procured two lakh quintals of raw and it would be off-loaded to mills according to their demands. At present, he said, JCI is hardly purchasing any raw jute.
It may be noted that raw jute prices have flared up from around Rs 1,000 a quintal to around Rs 1,300 a quintal in last fortnight. "Prices have shot up a lot. We have slow down our procurement mechanism," Mr Tiwari said.
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