Jute: an eco-friendly opportunity for a sustainable future

Completed

In Bangladesh, jute cultivation and the export of diversified jute products constitute a value chain with great potential for smallholder famers due to the growing global demand for environmentally friendly products. We supported CARE in its efforts to build a sustainable jute value chain and increase incomes for the most vulnerable groups by facilitating the linkages between poor farmers, small entrepreneurs and market intermediaries. Over 16,000 jute farmers and 2,000 diversified jute product workers across North-West and South-West Bangladesh improved their production skills and access to national and international markets.

Duration
2013-2017
Focus area
Women’s Social and Economic Development Sustainable Livelihoods and Ecosystems
country
Bangladesh
partner
CARE

Results achieved

The 3-year programme, built by CARE around a demand-driven business model, successfully transferred knowledge, technology and capacities to all stakeholders in the value chain, from vulnerable jute growers to jute processors and business and market intermediaries.

At jute grower level:

Jute, the so-called “golden fibre of Bengal” is a cash crop for millions of small farmers across North-West and South-West Bangladesh.

  • Over 16,000 jute farmers improved their production skills, capacities and sustainable market linkages. They were trained in modern jute cultivation processes, the identification of quality seeds and improved post-harvest management techniques. Over 80% of the farmers now practice improved retting techniques, 34.2% adopt local seeds, 81.4% use organic fertilizers whose usage is spreading to other crops, and 50% of the farmers reported grading jute fibre to obtain a better price. On average, each farmer was able to earn €220 from their share in the sale of the over 7,000 metric tonnes of jute fibres produced.
  • Sixty women learned how to produce and sell organic fertilizers. 60% reported a 30% increase in their income.

At jute processor level:

  • 2,000 diversified jute product workers were trained in new production skills and provided with work opportunities.
  • 80 artisan groups were set up to respond promptly to product orders from nearby small enterprises.

564 self-help savings groups were established. Members pool their savings on a monthly basis and can request small short-term loans, mostly intended to improve production or overcome a difficult period. 402 groups have opened formal bank accounts.

At enterprise and market level:

The programme brought together and trained business intermediaries, three jute mills and a consortium of 20 diversified jute product entrepreneurs. It not only strengthened the linkages between jute product producers and raw material producers, but also contributed to collectively addressing constraints and challenges in the production and export of medium-sized orders. In addition, it successfully advocated for social and environmental compliance standards and good working practices, including fire safety and workers’ rights.