KARACHI - Pakistan Jute Mills Association has urged the government of Pakistan to follow the footsteps of Bangladesh which has adopted an aggressive approach to support its jute sack industry.

Mohammad Younus, Secretary General of PJMA, stated that recently Bangladesh’s Appellate Division of Supreme Court has supported their government’s decision to make use of jute bags necessary for packaging rice in order to provide assistance to jute sack industry against the polypropylene or plastic bags.

It may be added here that Bangladesh has already promulgated orders nominating jute sacks mandatory packaging for wheat grains’ storage. The government is also providing 7pc cash subsidy for exporting jute items. It is ironic that government of Pakistan has been continuously neglecting a sector which is at present supporting more than 125,000 people directly and indirectly, he said. He added that if government would have promulgated such an order, as per the requests made in pre-budget proposals, it could have reduced the risk of contamination of food grains and environmental hazards that are associated to synthetic packaging. Besides, Pakistan could have earned green credit among the countries which have adopted eco-and-human friendly packaging.

He said worldwide jute is considered as the best option for the storage of wheat and other grains as its natural fibers do not interfere with the breathing process of the grains and keep their quality intact for longer time period due to their ability to protect them from sunlight and heat. Secretary General PJMA argued that using jute sacks can prove beneficial in the situation where Pakistan is acutely lacking proper bulk handling facilities. One can easily calculate the cost advantage by the fact that government is procuring 6 or 7 times more poly bags than the jute sacks owing to their limited reuse capability. He added wastage disposal is another issue with the increased usage of poly bags. On the other hand, jute sacks also offer the recycling advantage as torn bags can be sewed with sutra (jute chords) which is impossible with poly bags as carcinogenic oxides are released in the atmosphere during recycling. It is for this very reason, recycling of polypropylene bags are prohibited in European countries.