Pakistan Jute Mills Association (PJMA) has urged the government to follow Bangladesh in adopting an aggressive approach to support its jute sack industry. Secretary General of PJMA, Mohammad Younus said that recently appellate division of the Supreme Court had supported Bangladesh 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.
Bangladesh has already promulgated orders nominating jute sacks mandatory packaging for wheat grains’ storage. The government is also providing 7 percent cash subsidy for exporting jute items. It is ironic that the government of Pakistan has been continuously neglecting a sector which is at present supporting more than 125,000 people directly and indirectly, he said.
Had government 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 of PJMA argued that using jute sacks could prove beneficial in the situation where Pakistan is acutely lacking proper bulk handling facilities. One could easily calculate the cost advantage based on the fact that government is procuring 6 or 7 times more poly bags than the jute sacks owing to their limited reuse capability. He said wastage disposal is another issue with the increased usage of poly bags. On the other hand, jute sacks offer recycling advantage as torn bags could 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 that recycling of Polypropylene bags is prohibited in European countries.