The International Jute Commodity System
Northern Book Centre
, Jan 1, 2009
- Jute fiber
- 294 pages
The jute commodity system as prevalent in the Indian subcontinent is a conglomeration of paradoxes. Jute was once called the golden fibre on account of its contribution to means of livelihood to millions of farmers, traders, manufacturers in the unorganized sector, mill workers in the organized sector as well scores of people employed in the service sector relating to trading, manufacturing and exports of jute and jute goods. Jute industry along with textile manufacturing provided the foundation of modern manufacturing industry in India. Simultaneously, this industry was also the fountain head of the growth of private entrepreneurship and capital in India. Most of the traditional Industrial Houses in India grew out of trading and manufacturing of jute and jute goods, coal and tea. On the other hand most of the farmers involved in cultivation of natural fibres like jute are small and marginal farmers. Without alternative avenues of gainful employment elsewhere, these millions in South Asia would be deprived of a part of their livelihood. The entire commodity chain of natural fibres is characterized by low productivity, low value addition, high volumes and low returns. The advent and discovery of mineral oil helped exploit cheap HDPE and PP polyethylene sacks, which started replacing the natural fibre based packaging materials. As a result, the jute industry got wiped out from Europe, America and the Far East. Today, it is survived in the Indian subcontinent and to a lesser extent in Brazil. The unique feature of the volume is that it focuses on the first hand experience of the policy-makers and other stakeholders in the jute commodity system, who are confronted with a dilemma of reviving a declining economic subsector. At this juncture, when there is need for a Commodity Development Strategy suitable to the ethos of a commodity like the jute fibre, the present, volumes attempts to devise such a strategy thorough analysis of the system based on authentic and up-to-date information. The Book furnishes an erudite analysis and stock-taking of the jute commodity system. This analysis points out to the fact that there is a need for a holistic, systemic approach to the problems being faced by this sector focusing on the economic exploitation of the whole jute plant; holistic research for addressing productivity and processing efficiency in the entire commodity chain of jute; and creating a network of organisations for advocacy for jute and allied fibres, which would focus on repositioning the golden fibre as sustainable and eco-friendly commodity with the help of green and sustainable development advocacy groups. The Commodity Development Strategy highlights the need for greater effort for significant degree of product diversification which would entail significant consumption of the fibre or fabric in volume terms. The volume ends with an optimistic note with ideas of inclusive development under the Millennium Development Goals and Carbon Credits Sustainable Development under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change the welcome paradigm shifts in the approach to the jute sector. The effort by Sh Roul is a timely one on the eve of the observance of 2009 as International Year for Natural Fibres by the United Nations. The book is quite comprehensive with its focus on a wide range of issues pertaining to the jute agri-commodity system addressed against a historical background and from macro-economic analytical perspective. The volume offers stimulating reading for those interested in the dynamics of agricultural commodity systems like jute and allied fibres. The book is expected to help sensitise national governments, international organizations and nongovernmental organizations towards the eco-sustainability of jute as a natural fibre. The book can serve as an excellent reference book for post-graduate students in economics, jute and textiles management, development studies, regional development and agriculture and agro-marketing.