Unwanted or discarded things are usually thrown out considering those valueless. But precious products can be made from such things. And this is happening in Adamdighi upazila of Bogra district where many entrepreneurs are producing some value added and finest items through using garment rags also known as ‘jhoot’. During a recent visit to Saoel village in the upazila, it is found that more than a thousand entrepreneurs are producing various kinds of quality and finest products including shawls, bed sheets, towels, blankets and other such products with threads made from garment rags. Such business has changed the lot of around 10,000 families and the socio-economic outlook in the locality. A market has been set up there centring the industry where traders from different parts of the country throng to buy such quality products. Yearly transaction of the market is around Tk 5-Tk 6 billion. The entrepreneurs said some of their products are also being sold in the name of different reputed brands or even in the name of some foreign countries’ products like Kashmiri or Indian products. Despite having huge demands and potentials, the sector cannot flourish due to lack of required facilities and some problems including narrow road, lack of dyeing factory, sufficient finance, proper marketing channel, product and market diversification and required spaces. Mofazzol Hossain, a local businessman of Saoel village, told the FE that they have been doing such business since 1985. At the very beginning, he said, they did such work from wool, but since 1988 they started bringing garment rags from the capital’s Mirpur. “Now we bring such items mainly from Dhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Chittagong and Comilla,” he said. Mofazzol, also president of Tontubai Somobai Samity Market, said such business significantly contributes to the economic development of the locality. “Around 10,000 families in the area now benefit from this business.” Apart from a large number of male workers, he said, female workers of the country are also getting involved in such job and earning extra money for their families. Despite having huge demand for their products both in local and international markets, he said, the sector could not thrive due to some problems including narrow roads and lack of required financial help, proper marketing channel and dyeing factories here. “We have to go to distant districts mainly in Feni and Chittagong to colour our threads which is time and cost-consuming,” he added. He said dyeing factory cannot be set up here as there is no gas connection. “We badly need a dyeing factory and we hope the government will help us in this regard.” Faruk Hossain, owner of Adiat Hasan Enterprise, told the FE that due to lack of proper marketing channel, they are also being deprived of getting fair prices of their products. “Some of our products are being sold at higher prices in the name of different brands or in the name of different country products, but we sell such items at lower prices as we don’t have proper marketing channel,” he added. He said scarcity of spaces is another problem being faced by the sector. “Setting up of a separate industrial park can help promote the sector,” he added. At a discussion meeting, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Bogra Md Ashraf Uddin said such business can meet the demand for winter clothes of the country. “I think if properly nurtured, country’s 90 per cent demand for winter clothes including shawls, blankets etc can be meet by Bogra businessmen.” He said despite having potentials, entrepreneurs here are facing problem in getting loans at low interest. They also need skilled manpower and required spaces. He said land should be allotted for the sector so that they can do such business and can help flourish the sector. However, SME Foundation has taken some short and long-term initiatives to promote the sector. The foundation is providing financial help for such entrepreneurs. An official of the foundation said 60,000 skilled and semi-skilled workers -60 per cent male and 40 per cent female- are involved in the sector. To improve the skills of both entrepreneurs and workers, he said, the foundation is also providing them with training and working to develop the website of their products and identify obstacles to exporting their products.