Country’s export earnings grew by 7.03 per cent to US$11.50 billion during first four months of the current fiscal year (FY 2017-18), according to official data released Thursday. The earnings were $10.79 billion in the same period (July-October) last FY. In October 2017, the exports grew by 6.42 per cent to $2.84 billion, the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data showed. The overall exports in the first four months slightly (0.74 per cent) fell short of the period’s target. In October, however, the exports were 6.28 per cent higher than the month’s strategic target. Readymade garment shipments fetched $9.43 billion, marking 6.99 per cent growth during the period as compared to $8.82 billion in the same period of last FY. The woven items registered 3.85 per cent growth in earnings to $4.45 billion than that of $4.28 billion in the same period of FY 2016-17. The earnings from knitwear export during the period grew by 9.95 per cent to $4.98 billion from $4.53 billion in the corresponding period of last FY. Jute and jute goods exports rose by 16.46 per cent to $345.01 million from $296.26 million in the same period of FY17. The earnings from agriculture products grew by 20.22 per cent during the period while home textiles by 20.37 per cent. The earnings from leather and leather products, however, fell marginally by 0.02 per cent to $428.44 million during the period than that of $428.51 million in the same period last FY. The export earnings from frozen food and live fish grew by 15.41 per cent to $226.91 million from $196.61 million of the corresponding period of last fiscal. Mahmud Hasan Khan, vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said the exports in the first four months of the current fiscal year fell short of the expected growth mainly because of failure in maintaining the lead time and short supply of gas and electricity. Terming the knitwear’s growth satisfactory, he said woven items manufacturers have been struggling to cope with the new challenge as buyers were reducing the volume of orders due to failure in meeting the lead time. Without efficient port and strong backward linkage industry, especially for the woven sub-sector, it will be difficult for the sub-sector to bounce back, he feared. He pointed out that maximum of the woven fabric requirements were being met through imports. But it was taking too much time to clear the imported fabrics and additional charges, as a result, at the Chittagong seaport that was facing unbearable congestion. The government should provide necessary policy support to the exporters to establish strong backward linkage industry for the woven sub-sector, he added.