Lower duty on imported silk yarn and fabrics has led to the poor use of local product, forcing many silk farmers to move to other professions.
Bangladesh Silk Development Board (BSDB) mentioned this to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Textiles and Jute.
BSDB in its working plan (2016-17) has suggested proposing National Board of Revenue (NBR) to increase the duty on imported silk yarn and fabric to save local silk industry and enhance production.
These were discussed at the 19th meeting of the Jatiyo Sangsad (JS) body on Sunday with its chairman Saber Hossain Chowdhury in the chair.
The meeting also discussed and finalized the draft Jute Policy 2016. Aspects of the policy include expansion of jute market, improvement of quality of jute products, reducing loss of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), and becoming self-sufficient in quality jute seed production by lessening overdependence on India for import.
"The draft Jute Policy 2016 has been prepared. To pass we will submit it in the next parliament session, which will start from 25th of this month, after taking approval of the ministry," committee member Dr Enamur Rahman told the FE.
According to government data, the country's total requirement of jute seed is about 4,500 tonnes. At present Bangladesh produces only 10 per cent of the total requirement and 90 per cent is imported from India, he also said.
The committee also discussed various steps for development of local silk industry.
It recommended shifting the closed Rajshahi Silk Mills to Chittagong Hill Tracts or any char in Noakhali, as the silk farmers of Chapainawabganj have weed out all the silk gardens there to cultivate mango. The government will acquire 5,000 acres of land in Bandarban and 5,000 acres at a char in Noakhali, Dr Enam added.
The country produces 10 per cent of its total requirement of 481 tonnes of silk. The rest 90 per cent is imported, mainly from China and Thailand. The government has set a target to produce 46 tonnes silk in 2017.
The committee has recommended BSDB to produce Mulberry saplings, distribute the saplings and train up farmers, produce silk spawn, and incorporate 'One House One Farm' project beneficiaries with Mulberry production.
Regarding success of the project beneficiaries for development of silk sector, Dr Enam said already 6,900 families have been given Mulberry saplings and provided training.
"We do not produce the required quantity of silk to run our silk mills. If we can produce 481 tonnes, we will be able to operate our silk mills properly," he added.
Besides, the committee discussed about the looting of various industries like Anwara Jute Mill and Eagle Textile in Chittagong, Bangladesh Textile Mills Corporation (BTMC) at Hathkhola.
It also focused on the government's commitment to lessen carbon emission through raising jute production with joint efforts by environment, agriculture and jute ministries.
Meanwhile, the 33rd meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Shipping was informed that Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) has undertaken various development projects, including equipping the prime port with sufficient number of jetty, yard, berth and other equipments by to enhance the port's handling capacity to 3.59 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) by 2021.
Committee chairman Major (Retd) Rafiqul Islam chaired the meeting.