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Plastic gone,jute on: manufacturers now look to win over Delhi buyers

Seen for long as an unattractive and coarse raw material fit primarily for gunny bags,jute is enjoying its days under the sun like never before,more so after the Delhi government imposed a ban on plastic carry bags.

Written by Sukalp Sharma | New Delhi |
March 31, 2009 1:01:22 am

Seen for long as an unattractive and coarse raw material fit primarily for gunny bags,jute is enjoying its days under the sun like never before,more so after the Delhi government imposed a ban on plastic carry bags.

With poly-bags out as competition in a potentially vast market,jute manufacturers have now renewed their efforts to market jute bags: stressing on the fashionable factor for consumers,and the affordability angle for shopkeepers.

“After the ban on plastic,the available options are paper,cotton and jute,” D Mukherjee,market promotion officer for Jute Manufactures Development Council (JMDC),said. “While paper bags are not durable,cotton bags are very expensive; so jute is the only workable alternative. We have on display bags starting from as low as Rs 3-4.

On Monday,JMDC organised an interactive session between jute manufacturers and prospective buyers in the Capital. Mukherjee said the event is a forum where buyers can get to know where they can buy jute bags in bulk at a good rate.

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JMDC officials said once the ban is fully enforced,Delhi will need 1 lakh jute bags each day,and the scope of the market,added with the retailer enthusiasm,left representatives of the 27 jute manufacturers participating in the event optimistic as well as excited. Manish Singh,of the Kolkata-based East India Natural Goods Company,said manufacturers until now depended solely on exports since there was hardly any market in India.

In fact,so bad was business that many jute mills in and around Kolkata were forced to down shutters as plastic became popular over the years. But Singh said the manufacturers are excited again,and “though there is a gap between what Delhi consumers want and what we produce,we feel we will overcome it and Delhi would prove to be a good market”.

D K Nandi,export manager at Ashim Kar and Industries,said manufacturers are looking forward to more such interactions. “We hope jute becomes a success story in Delhi,for that would attract other cities and states,” Nandi said.

Though jute bags would cost shopkeepers more,most present at the event seemed positive. “It is more expensive than plastic but it is definitely a better option,keeping in mind the environment,” said Rakesh Kumar Gupta,a jewellery and handicraft shop owner.

Another buyer,Rajiv Minhas,meanwhile has plans of his own: “We are looking at entering the wholesale business of supplying durable and economical jute bags for daily use — maybe in the Rs 4-5 bracket. We will also take jute to a whole new level with designer accessories and bags.”

Jutefacts
Delhi will need around 1 lakh jute bags daily once ban on plastic bags is fully implemented
Jute bags for daily use might cost around Rs 4 or Rs 5,compared to 30-50 paise per poly-bag. Jute bags are more durable and can be reused
Jute industry in India employs more than 2 lakh workers

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