Home textiles, agricultural products and leather and leather goods are gradually emerging to be export potential sectors, say industry leaders.
While these sectors performed well according to the export outlook of concluded FY22, experts deem their growth curves still below the achievable potential partly due to freight cost hike which hindered export.
For leather and leather goods export compliance turns out to be a major barrier for growth.
Jute and jute goods saw about 3% negative growth due to price hike of raw materials in the previous fiscal year.
According to the provisional data of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), in July-June, the country's diversified export basket contributed about 19% to the total export earnings of $52.08 billion, while apparel shipment alone accounts for more than 81%, which once went up to 84%.
EPB data shows, the home textile sector saw a 43.28% growth to $1.62 billion year-on-year while leather and leather goods earned $1.24 billion with 32.23% growth in the last fiscal.
Agricultural products recorded $1.16 billion with 13.04% growth, while the earnings were $1.02billion in FY21.
Kamruzzaman Kamal, director marketing of the PRAN-RFL group told The Business Standard, that the sectors have potential to grow more but the freight cost hike and vessel crisis during the pandemic hindered their growth.
He added that some exporters failed to ship goods on time while others saw order cancellations.
PRAN-RFL group has done better than last year, he said, adding "We have diversified our export basket adding some new product lines – bakery and confectionery items."
Once golden fibre - jute and jute goods has lost its glory and saw about 3% negative growth to $1.12 billion in FY22 from $1.16billion in FY21.
Akij group Chairman Sheikh Nasir Uddin told The Business Standard that the sector lost its market share due to last year's raw materials price hike, which also led to innovation of alternative products.
"Turkey is the major market for Bangladesh, but they innovated two alternative products for Jute—recycled cotton yarn and plastic yarn," he added.
Sheikh Nasir Uddin, also chairman of Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association, said about 50% of small and medium factories have already closed down and the rest are running with up to 60% of their capacity.
Mridha Moniruzzaman Monir, vice-chairman of Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association and managing director of Golden Jute Industries Ltd, said a syndication of local jute prices was invited this fall for the sector.
Shaheen Ahmed, President of Bangladesh Tanners' Association (BTA) said the sector saw growth despite the logistic cost and imported chemical price hike.
"The sector will not flourish further without a fully efficient Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) at the Savar Tannery Industrial Estate," he added.
Leather exporter Picard Bangladesh Limited's managing director Md Saiful Islam pointed out that the growth indicates that buyers' have confidence on them.
He also observed that Bangladesh has failed to diversify the jute products as once it was one of the main export items along with raw leather and tea.
Rashed Mosharaff executive director marketing at Zaber & Zubair Fabrics Ltd (Home) said the home textile sector has experienced an organic growth of about 15% every year and last year it was about 25%.
"We are also exploring new markets and new buyers," he said, adding, "Spanish buyer Mango Home came on board with us this year. We are now exploring Brazil as a potential new market."