Jute has long been called the golden fibre of Bangladesh, and that alone underscores the significance of the fibre in the culture and economy. Bangladesh grows one of the best quality jute fibres in the entire world, and there's significant production and scope in our country. But are we using it to its full potential and could we do more?
To answer such questions and promote jute products, the National Jute Fair 2020 was inaugurated at the Officers' Club on Bailey Road, on 6 March, and end on 10 March.
Out of the more than hundred stalls displaying products crafted from jute, one stall stood out. "We're not here to sell. We're here to promote jute. We want to raise awareness," said Md Amir Hossain Rangan, Managing Director of JERB, Jute Economic Revolution of Bangladesh.
"Global warming is becoming a greater problem with every passing day and we must boycott plastic if we want to save our planet. But we need an alternative, and interestingly, we do have it in jute. It is a gift-wrapped solution and absolutely eco-friendly. All we need is imagination and the will to work for it," he added, explaining why jute is so important.
Jute fibre is not only eco-friendly, it's also durable. However, there is a common misconception that jute fibre is not fashionable. Rangan put that debate to bed in person, as you could spot him from across the hallway, very distinguishable in his attire; a Mujib coat made from jute sack.
When asked, he flashed a jolly smile and said that he's been wearing similar clothing for about six years and he's been working to promote jute revolution for 17 years.
Such dedication and hard work are rare and he's got his recognition along the way in the form of multiple national awards. But that's not enough.
"We are economic freedom fighters," he said, proudly referring to his team, who have dedicated themselves to this struggle, aiming to do something for the environment, for the country.
Their products are not only interesting, but very fashionable and practical. Products such as attaché cases made from jute fibres are being exported abroad. Clothing items, accessories and showpieces are equally dazzling. Some of the products in the stall were made by young children of different schools and orphanages.
"We want them to get interested in such things from an early age because honestly, that's what we are lacking. We have the fibres, we have the products, what we need are dedicated people with new ideas so that we can compete against the rest of the world," he elaborated.
To emphasise his words, he pointed to a dress made of jute in the stall, with very artistic design. The bottom helm was brightly coloured, like the flames of a scary fire. Called "Save Mother Nature," the artwork depicts the blight of the amazon fire. There is still time to do just that, and jute is one of the important answers.