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Huge market for eco-friendly jute products: official

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EXTENDING HELP:S. Maruthappan, General Manager (in- charge), District Industries Centre, speaking at a function in the city.
EXTENDING HELP:S. Maruthappan, General Manager (in- charge), District Industries Centre, speaking at a function in the city.

Staff Reporter

MADURAI: With increasing awareness of the importance of protecting the environment and the need for eco-friendly products on the rise among people, there is a huge market for jute products, according to S. Maruthappan, General Manager (in-charge), District Industries Centre (DIC).

He was addressing the inaugural function of a Jute Service Centre and awareness workshop on jute organised here on Monday by Small Industries Product Promotion Organisation (SIPPO) with support from the National Jute Board, Union Ministry of Textiles. Around 200 entrepreneurs and women self-help group members took part in the programme.

The service centre would provide the skills for entrepreneurs to start their own commercial venture. The initial basic training would be followed by an advanced training session. Technical and design dissemination workshops would also be conducted.

To provide marketing support for the entrepreneurs, a buyer-seller meet would be organised. The service centre would lay emphasis on quality, affordability and attractiveness of the product.

The DIC would help entrepreneurs either through the Centre's Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) or through the various State Government schemes. In the last year, around Rs. 1 crore was disbursed as subsidy through this scheme, Mr. Maruthappan said.

S. Rajagopal, Chairman and Managing Director, SIPPO, said that the raw material for the jute sector was available in abundance only in West Bengal and a few other places. Entrepreneurs in Tamil Nadu had to source jute either through Chennai or Coimbatore. To overcome this problem, a raw material bank had been proposed for Madurai.

M.T. Wakode, Director, Madurai Division of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), said that the degradable nature of jute products would help preserve the environment.

I. Ayyappan, Market Promotion Officer, National Jute Board, said, “We provide both training and marketing support. We also help entrepreneurs take part in exhibitions in India and aboard.”

KN. Subramanian, Lead District Manager, spoke about the various means of access to credit for entrepreneurs, especially the micro and small enterprises. For loans upto Rs. 5 lakh, he said that collateral security was needed to be furnished by the entrepreneur.

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