How The Coronavirus Is Impacting The Jute Industry

China’s novel Coronavirus Virus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak has infected thousands of people, causing over 10,000 deaths worldwide as of 20th of March, 2020, stirring extreme panic among general people.

The current situation indicates towards a surging Global Economic Crisis. The effect is already visible across several Exports and Imports industries, which includes the textile industry and trade of natural fibres like Jute.

As most of the IT Operations shifted base to Work-From-Home mode, it is the factory workers that are facing most of the crisis, from an economic perspective. Here’s an overview of the impacts of COVID-19 on the Jute Industry and what the future looks like from the immediate vantage. 

Coronavirus And The Indian Jute Industry

Bengal, combining both India and Bangladesh, is the primary producer of Jute with over 300,000 workers in West Bengal alone. In this situation, there are many aspects of what Risk truly means around this fringe of the world.

First of all, there is the scare of the actual disease, moreover, the primitive working conditions in most of the factories lead to an increased risk of contagion. 

Though many organisations have taken to provide protection masks, soaps, sanitizers, and clean water, the process of turning Jute Fibres into fine textiles and fabrics involves a combination of manual and mechanical procedures, such as Retting, Batching, Softening and many other, exposing the workers towards largely open-air and dynamic working environments that is too extensive for protection masks or sanitizers to realistically control the impact of the virus. 

Many Jute Mills in the regional areas have responded to the threat by going into lockdown - which is another problem for the workers, as many times it leads to increased chances of a wage cut, especially for those who earn daily and weekly remunerations.

Organisations are also facing a downfall in exports, that decreased by 1.6%, caused by the immense negative impact on Raw Material Exports. 

The Current Situation Of The Pandemic

The pandemic, which originates from China, is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - Coronavirus 2), which has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It is confirmed to be a highly contagious disease, that can be transmitted via coughing and sneezing or even via exposure to contaminated surfaces. 

But according to the current demographics, the pandemic still has 90% recovered and closed cases and 5% of deaths with China, Italy and Iran being the countries with the highest number of cases. India, with over 200 cases, and one death, is still at a relatively safer distance. 

Possible Chance Of Surge For Indian Export

Even though the Jute Export Industry, together with other export goods are going through a Socio-Economic crisis, industry experts still believe that there is likely to be a surge in the Indian Exports Industry in the near future. 

This is because China is a major producer of Jute in Asia, however, due to the COVID-19 Outbreak, the country is facing nearly a total lockdown of its export industry, including Jute. 

Western markets have largely withdrawn concessions from China and are looking for alternates. Moreover, the U.S Concessions are now imposed with Import Duty on all Export Goods, including Jute and Jute Goods, like Jute Bags, Jute Textiles etc. along with incentive programs announced by several Governments. 

India is the prime producer of Jute, and with the increased demand for natural fibres motivated by the high-time, that gives Eco-Friendly and Sustainabile products even greater importance, there are great chances that the country will be landing a good deal of Incremental Orders by 2021.  Though no one is in the position to take advantage of the current situation, while China suffers most of the consequences of this outbreak as well as the immense Socio-Economic loss.