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Friday, 4 January, 2002, 15:29 GMT
Bangladeshi jute bag demand soars
Jute bags
Demand for bags like these has pushed up jute prices
Bangladeshi jute makers are set to benefit from the government ban of polythene bags introduced this week.

The plastic bag ban was put in place after thousands of discarded bags clogged up the Bangladeshi drainage system.

Already, the price of jute bags - which are thought to be more environmentally friendly - have risen as demand has grown.

Bangladesh's environment minister Shajahan Siraj held a meeting with jute manufacturers on Friday to push for an increase in production and to encourage the creation of more jobs in the industry.

Technological breakthrough

New technology now means that jute bags can be made just as cheaply as plastic bags, Dr. S. M. Elias, director of the Jute Research Institute told the BBC's World Business Report.

Jute plant
The stem of the jute plant can be turned into a strong fibre
The stem of the jute plant can be turned into a fibre and woven into bags which are as strong as polythene ones.

Polythene shopping bags were introduced into Bangladesh nearly two decades ago, quickly replacing jute bags which are traditionally in use in every household of Bangladesh.

Such is the demand, the Jute Research Institute is to provide simple technology for making bags to self-help groups prepared to set up small production centres.

The Institute has already made yarn-making machines for dozens of new small businesses.

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The BBC's Vanessa Heaney
"There is a shortage of jute bags"
See also:

01 Jan 02 | South Asia
Bangladesh bans polythene
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