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DHAKA – Government agencies in Bangladesh are working with researchers from Scandinavia on a new feasibility study into producing viscose from raw jute with the ultimate goal of reducing the country’s current heavy dependence on viscose imports. Bangladesh currently imports around U$700-800 worth of wood-derived viscose annually, with many mills blending it with cotton to manufacture yarn.

Now Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) has announced a new feasibility study with several Scandinavian businesses into the technical challenges around producing viscose from jute. The BJMC said it is also looking to cement closer ties between Norway’s forest research sector and Bangladesh’s Jute Research Institute.

BJMC chairman, Mahmudul Hasan, claims laboratory tests have confirmed that pulp can be produced from jute, and told Bangladesh’s New Age, “now we need to conduct feasibility study to determine its commercial possibility.”

He also claimed that by 2021, Bangladesh will be able to export jute and jute goods worth US$5-7 billion.

Bangladesh, which produces around a third of the world’s jute, has for several years been looking at ways of diversifying its jute sector. Production has gone up steadily in recent years, from 6.5 million bales in 2014 to 9.2 million bales in 2017.

Bangladesh is also working closely with China on the technological issues around producing viscose from jute. Last year, a partnership was signed by the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) and China’s Textile Industrial Corporation with a view to China investing in and providing technological know-how within Bangladesh’s jute sector. A delegation from Bangladesh has also visited China to see the county’s carbon/charcoal-based viscose manufacturing process.

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