The government has decided to asses the option of using biodegradable PP woven bags for packaging of poultry and fish feeds amid strong protests from feed manufacturers against the mandatory use of jute bags for packaging of the products.
The textiles and jute ministry has already formed an interministerial committee for recommendations on whether to use biodegradable PP woven bags or jute bags for packaging of poultry and fish feeds.
The ministry on August 6, 2018 made the use of jute bags mandatory for packaging of poultry and fish feeds to boost the domestic use of the golden fibre.
Since then, poultry and fish feed producers have been opposing the compulsory use of jute bags for feeds saying that the use of jute bags for poultry and fish feeds affected the quality of products due to moisture.
Along with poultry and fish feeds, the use of jute bags is mandatory for a total of 19 types of products that include paddy, rice, wheat, maize, fertiliser, sugar, spices, turmeric, onion, ginger, garlic, coriander, pulses, potato, flour, crude flour (ata) and rice bran.
The ministry on March 25 formed the 21-member committee, headed by Department of Jute director general Hossain Ali Khondoker, to analyse the pros and cons of the uses of biodegradable PP woven bags and jute bags for packaging of poultry and fish feeds.
Other members of the committee include representatives from the Department of Fisheries, Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution, the Department of Environment, the Department of Livestock Services, Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, veterinary, textiles and botany teachers from various public universities and business leaders from sectors concerned, including poultry feed, fish feed, jute and PP woven bag manufacturers associations.
The committee was asked to analyse the reports of laboratory tests conducted by the BCSIR on the biodegradability of PP woven bags and jute bags and season-wise moisture levels of feeds contained in the two types of bags.
The committee will also review existing rules, regulations, circulars, Gazette notices, office orders and court verdicts on the packaging of fish and poultry feeds, according to a circular of the ministry.
DoJ director general Hossain Ali Khondoker on Friday told New Age that the committee had already held one meeting in this regard and would need to hold more meetings to reach a final decision as it would require scrutiny of a number of scientific issues.
He said that the use of jute bags still remained mandatory for the packaging of the products.
But the government formed the committee amid objections raised by the feed manufacturers over the use of jute bags, he said.
Officials said that the representatives of the fish and poultry feed associations claimed in the first committee meeting held on April 14 that the use of jute bags for feed packaging affected the quality of the food, changed its colour and taste while the food was contaminated by fungus due to dampness.
Jute bags cannot maintain the required temperature and the moisture in the feeds to keep the quality of the food intact, they claimed.
The BSTI representative said that the institution had determined the BDS standard for jute bags to be used for the packaging of the fish and poultry feeds.
Feed producers can conduct tests at the BSTI laboratory to know about the changes in quality, taste and colour of food due to the use of jute bags for packaging, the representative opined.
At the meeting, the committee formed a sub-committee headed by the DoJ director (jute) and comprising of representatives from various public universities, the BCSIR and feed industries’ associations to place their recommendations about the changes in the quality of food due to the use of jute packaging for the products.