April 19: As the second wave of the coronavirus is spreading across the globe, industries that produce sacks in Nepal have been facing shortage of raw materials. Due to the lack of raw materials, the production capacity of these industries has been declining.
There are around two dozen industries that produce sacks made of plastic, jute, and clothes in Nepal. The industries provide these bags to various factories such as the ones that produce grains and cement among others. At present, all these industries are facing shortage of raw materials. This has reduced the production capacity of all the industries by almost 50 percent.
Sudip Jaiswal, proprietor of Pashupati Seal Pack Industry in Biratnagar, said that his industry has been facing problems in production of bags for the past two months due to lack of polypropylene. Nepal imports such raw materials from countries like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and India.
He said that there is a problem in importing raw materials due to the increasing rate of coronavirus infection in those countries in recent days. "First of all, even if there is no problem in getting the raw materials, it takes months to reach Nepal due to the delay in shipment," he said.
Due to the shortage of raw material and lengthy import process, the price of sacks has gone up in the country. According to industrialists, the production cost has risen by 25 percent this year compared to last year.
The price of sacks used for packing cement has gone up to Rs 19 from Rs 13. About 30 percent of the workers in such industries have lost their jobs due to the decline in production capacity.
According to Nikhil Todi, proprietor of Shivam Plastic Industries, Nepali sack industries produce 5,000 metric tonnes of sacks per month. Of them, 40 percent of the bags are consumed in Nepal's domestic market, and the remaining 60 percent are exported to other countries, including India.
Due to the decline in production capacity, the export market of these industries has also become uncertain. Likewise, due to the fall in production of sacks, industries that produce rice, pulses, flour, and cement have been facing shortage of bags, according to the industrialists.