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  jute- polymer product a substitute for corrugated iron sheets              







   jute- polymer product a substitute for corrugated iron sheets

  BANGLADESH Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) revealed recently that it has  developed a jute- and polymer-based product that could be a perfect substitute  for corrugated iron sheets -- and with more merit, given its heat and  rust-resistant, strong and flexible properties. Dubbed 'Jutin', this could prove  to be a commercial success if initiatives are taken for large scale production, either as a state-owned or PPP (Public-Private Partnership) project, according  to the BAEC scientist involved in its research and development. It is claimed to  be light-weight, saline-resistant, durable and with much lower thermal  conductivity than the widely used metal sheets for rural housing in Bangladesh. If the properties of Jutin are as good and safe as BAEC claims, there is no reason why the product should not be preferred and promoted over the uncomfortable and hazardous CI sheets. 
  Products like Jutin could mean a new lease of life for the growers of the golden  fibre which has been taking a beating over the past decades on account of weak government policies, bad management and tough competition from synthetics. With a little help, and innovations like these, the country's jute farmers, and  others in the sector, might once again feel encouraged to toil for its revival. Not that they have been idle. A decade after Adamjee Jute Mills was shut down,  when farmers of this versatile plant were literally left in the lurch, some  small scale private entrepreneurs salvaged ten to twenty of the still-usable looms from the defunct mills and set up business in the north. Since then these modest mills have been humming, raising the price of raw jute in the region and giving the growers of Bangladesh's golden fibre the much needed boost.
   Jute is indeed an eminently profitable economic resource and both traditional jute goods and other products have gained from the worldwide fall of synthetics from grace. Some big investors are now said to be interested in opening shop in Bangladesh. However, in a poor population dense country, modest enterprises rather than unwieldy, capital intensive ones, should be the norm, for the cost-benefit yields -- in terms of the human economy and ecology -- are said to be greater in the former than the latter. 
  The potential for adding value to jute is immense. Apart from Jutin, there is paper pulp from green jute, yarn for household linen, upholstery and even clothing, not to forget traditional items like carpets, rugs, twine and sacking. 
Exporters of jute goods claim there is no valid reason why the sector should  ever have been sick. International demand for Bangladesh's products has been found to be greater than the volume the mills could deliver. Jute floor 
coverings, for example have won selected markets on account of the fibre's  biodegradable as well as fire-retardant qualities. Yet policy-makers have been permitting the unimpeded import of synthetic floor coverings, and have also been taking a number of negative decisions that seemed to be designed to throttle the sector rather than revamp it. Policy makers ought to think more clearly in this regard than they have done in the past. 
  Serious efforts at research and development, such as BAEC's Jutin, which has much potential, deserve sincere support and commercially successful  'diversified' products, like hand-braided rugs, modeled on the specifications of 
guaranteed foreign buyers, also need to be developed further and new markets tapped. If consumer trends in the developed world are followed, which both India and China do, many more items could be manufactured, both for poverty alleviation and foreign exchange earnings -- provided manageable, market-oriented enterprises are put in place to enhance the lives of the primary  producers as well as those at the top. 

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