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    ITC Jute Project: A Little Goes a Long Way


    An evaluation calls ITC's jute programme a major success.
    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2000

    An independent evaluation concluded that ITC's market development and promotion activities for jute and jute products are a major success. Working with modest budgets by industry standards, ITC produced substantial results in assisting tens of millions of very poor people in promoting jute exports, a natural, eco-friendly material. When asked to quantify benefits, leading traders suggested that over 20 years, about US$ 6 million in project funding have reaped rewards of upwards of US$ 500 million.

    The resources committed to saving the industry were large by ITC standards, but tiny by industry norms.

    Jute's only marketing programme

    ITC was the only organization to undertake market development and promotion for the sector; other technical cooperation programmes focused on production and manufacturing.

    ITC helped limit the extent of the decline in jute trade, which bought time for the industry to adjust to market losses to artificial fibres. Few natural materials fit environmental criteria as well as jute. This message is beginning to filter through to consumers, thanks, up to a point, to ITC's interventions.

    Technical assistance to the poorest people

    The jute industry consists of millions of very poor people who grow the fibre because it is ideal for rotation with rice, thus offering the means for extra earnings. Jute has much to commend it: it protects rice cultivation; it can be replaced within months; its cultivation, harvesting and primary processing provide much-needed employment for women and landless labourers; its processing provides much-needed industrial employment.

    This article is adapted from the ITC newsletter, Evaluation News, Editor: J. Piers de Raveshoot.
    For more information, contact Anthony Sandana, ITC Senior Commodity Officer, at sandana@intracen.org