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Tuesday, Sep 16, 2003

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Jute exports increase 62 pc — But miss Rs 1,000-cr target

Kohinoor Mandal

Kolkata , Sept. 15

JUTE exports in the last financial year 2002-03 registered a growth of 62 per cent compared to the previous financial year but missed the targeted Rs 1,000 crore because of the Iraq war.

According to statistics prepared by the Jute Manufactures Development Corporation (JMDC), jute exports shot up from Rs 613.32 crore to Rs 916.67 crore. In terms of quantity, it increased by 54.72 per cent to 2.29 lakh tonnes from 1.48 lakh tonnes.

For the last financial year, the Union Ministry of Textiles' target for jute exports was Rs 1,000 crore or $200 million. The sector achieved 94 per cent of the targeted amount. In terms of the dollar, exports were to the tune of $188 million.

Mr Arun Bal, Secretary of JMDC, told Business Line the target could have been achieved had the Iraq war not broken out. "A leading jute company had a huge consignment booked for Syria but due to the war it could not be transported," Mr Bal said.

Meanwhile, for the current financial year, the Textile Ministry has set a fresh target of Rs 1,200 crore or $250 million for jute exports. According to Mr Bal, the industry was trying hard to reach this target.

It may be noted that the success of jute industry in the export arena was due to the introduction of Duty Entitlement of Pass Book (DEPB) Scheme in July 2002. "Once the DPEB rates were announced, jute exports shot up", he said.

According to him, during the period July-March, 2002-03, exports of jute sackings increased by 223 per cent to 36,000 tonnes from 11,000 tonnes in the previous year.

Similarly, hessian exports increased by 145 per cent to 67,000 tonnes from 27,000 tonnes. Jute yarn and other diversified products registered growths of 16 per cent and 77 per cent respectively. Jute hessian fetched the maximum amount business and it was Rs 272 crore. It was followed by jute yarn with Rs 252 crore, jute diversified products with Rs 185 crore and jute sackings with Rs 128 crore.

Meanwhile, the Union Government has decided to continue with the external marketing assistance (EMA) to the jute exporters for creating new markets in Latin America and Africa.

The JMDC Secretary further assured that jute goods would continue to enjoy the benefits of DEPB in the current financial year. "In any case there is every possibility that the DEPB scheme would continue up to 2004," he said.

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