Union Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani inaugurated the "Artisan Speak and Jute Expo" at the recently restored 185-year-old heritage currency building in Kolkata on Monday. It is an outreach initiative of the Union ministry, which will be held here from January 7-10. Delegates from 14 nations and over 70 buyers are participating in the four-day event. While addressing a gathering Smriti Irani said, "We have seen a growth of 24% in exports of jute products and diversified products in the last five years (since 2014). Today we also celebrate the legacy of jute in the country." "In the ministry we are committed to the welfare of jute farmers, workers and we have ensured that any packaging facility that the industry receives from the government of India is conditioned to the fact that payments to farmers and workers will be made", she added. "Today in Kolkata we celebrate the success, strength and possibilities of the jute sector. From 14 countries across the world we have over 70 buying houses who have converged upon this venue," she further stated.