Mill owners have proposed duty on raw jute exports with the intention to buy the product at the cheapest price, depriving farmers of a fair price for their produce.
Conspiracies have constantly been blocking the way for Bangladesh's golden fibre to earn foreign currency, with some vested quarters often trying to stop raw jute exports through presenting wrong information.
Leaders of the Bangladesh Jute Association (BJA) and the Shippers' Council of Bangladesh brought these allegations at a press conference organised on Monday in the capital.
BJA Chairman Sheikh Syed Ali said, showing a fake crisis in raw jute, the mill owners proposed to the ministry to impose $250 export duty on each tonne of the product, in an attempt to stop its export.
He demanded "no halt" to and "no duty imposition" on exports of raw jute, calling for necessary steps to revive the raw jute exporters who suffered losses over repeated export stoppages.
He stood for providing incentives and export subsidies to raw jute exporters.
"If raw jute exports are hampered after the duty is imposed, the foreign market for Bangladeshi jute will collapse, causing harm to millions of growers and workers involved in its export,"the BJA chief said.
Farmers will ultimately lose interest in jute cultivation in the future, he warned.
Syed Ali said, "The foreign market size of our jute has shrunk to 8-9 lakh bales from 26-30 lakh bales due to halts in raw jute exports at different times. It has caused huge financial losses and led to the extinction of many exporters."
He noted the government had estimated over 92 lakh bales of jute production this fiscal year but revised the target at over 84 lakh bales due to floods.
Earlier, the domestic demand for raw jute was around 55 lakh bales, with government jute mills requiring around 13 lakh bales. But the government jute mills have closed this year, which will leave over a million bales in surplus.
"Why should we not export 8-9 lakh bales more from this surplus amount?" Ali questioned.
Earlier, mill owners at a recent press conference proposed duty imposition to discourage jute exports.
At that press conference, Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association Chairman Md Zahid Mia said this year's jute production would reduce to 55 lakh bales. Local mills would require 60 lakh bales while another 5 lakh bales would go for household use. So,the deficit would be around 10 lakh bales.
Bangladesh Jute Mills Association Chairman Mohammed Mahbubur Rahman Patwari said, due to jute exports, the price of raw jute reached a record high and, hence, the proposal had been made to discourage jute exports.