What is Jute?

Jute is a type of plant fiber used to make common items such as rope, twine, chair coverings, curtains, sacks, hessian cloth, carpets, and even the backing used on linoleum. This is accomplished by spinning the fiber into a coarse thread. Despite the fact that jute tends to be rough in texture, fine threads of it are sometimes used to create imitation silk. In addition, it is increasingly being looked at as an alternative source for making paper, rather than cutting down trees for pulp.

Primary Uses

Virginia Status

What Farmers Need to Know:

Jute is a rainfed crop that doesn't need much in the way of fertilizer or pesticides. Production is concentrated around the Ganges delta region of India and Bangladesh where the warm, wet climate during the monsoon season provides ideal growing conditions. It takes between four and six months for the plants reach a height of around 12 feet (3.5m) when they are harvested. The harvested stems are then tied together and soaked in water to soften before being stripped of their fibers.

Industries that will Benefit the Most.

Textiles | Packaging | Cosmetics | Medicine | Paints | Pulp & Paper | Composites | Landscaping

Near & Longterm Outlook:

Jute is a strong, natural fibre, the second most important vegetable fibre after cotton not only for cultivation, but also for versatility; the outer is used for firewood, and the leaves are used for food. The fibres are used to make Fabrics, Twine, Shoes, and Bags.

Jute fibre is 100% biodegradable and recyclable and thus environmentally friendly. A hectare of jute plants consumes about 15 tonnes of carbon dioxide and releases 11 tonnes of oxygen. Cultivating jute in crop rotations enriches the fertility of the soil for the next crop. Jute also does not generate toxic gases when burnt.

Jute is in great demand due to its cheapness,softness,length,lustre and uniformity of its fibre. It is also called the 'golden fibre' due to its versatile nature.It is called the 'brown paper bag' as it is also used to store rice,wheat,grains, etc.

National Status

Primary Regions

Zesttex is one of the leading eco friendly jute bags manufacturers in USA and India catering to a worldwide clientele looking for bags made of natural fibers.

Crop History

British Jute Barons grew rich processing jute and selling manufactured products made from jute. Dundee Jute Barons and the British East India Company began to set up jute mills in Bengal and by 1895 jute industries in Bengal overtook the Scottish jute trade. Many Scots emigrated to Bengal to set up jute factories. More than a billion jute sandbags were exported from Bengal to the trenches during World War I and even more during WWII and also exported to the Americas, especially the United States southern region to bag cotton and coffee.

Current Economics

Advantages of jute include good insulating and antistatic properties, as well as having low thermal conductivity and a moderate moisture regain. It include acoustic insulating properties and manufacture with no skin irritations. Jute has the ability to be blended with other fibres, both synthetic and natural, and accepts cellulosic dye classes such as natural, basic, vat, sulfur, reactive, and pigment dyes. While jute is being replaced by relatively cheap synthetic materials in many uses, but  jute’s biodegradable nature is suitable for the storage of food materials, where synthetics would be unsuitable.

Worldwide Status

Primary Regions

India is the largest producer of jute goods in the World.  The Indian jute sector comprises organised jute industry as well as a large number of cottage units.  Both modern jute mills and traditional handlooms spin out high quality yarns and weave fine textured fabrics in exotic colours and designs.  After bleaching, dyeing and finishing the fibre and blending it with other natural and synthetic fibres the final product ensures total consumer satisfaction in terms of lustures, abrasion, resistance and aesthetic appeal.

Jute production is very limited and 66.35 per cent is produced by India and another 24.80 per cent by Bangladesh.Almost all the world production of jute comes from India and Bangladesh. Most of the jute is grown in the fertile, alluvial, annually flooded area at the mouth of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, where all the geographical requirements are present.

Crop History

Jute has been used since ancient times in Africa and Asia to provide a cordage and weaving fiber from the stem and food from the leaves. In several historical documents ( Ain-e-Akbari by Abul Fazal in 1590) during the era of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar  (1542 –1605) states that the poor villagers of India used to wear clothes made of jute. Simple handlooms and hand spinning wheels were used by the weavers, who used to spin cotton yarns as well. History also states that Indians, especially Bengalis, used ropes and twines made of white jute from ancient times for household and other uses.

Current Economics

The analysis shows that the production growth rate of jute has declined during the period 1992-2010 as compared to the period of 1970-1991 mainly because of fluctuations of area under jute Cultivation.

The jute composites can be very cost-effective material especially for building & construction industry (panels, false ceilings, partition boards etc.), packaging, automobile & railway coach interiors and storage devices. A survey of international patents establishes the potential applications of jute composites in various sectors.

Jute production fluctuates, influenced by weather conditions and prices. Annual output in the last decade ranges from 2.5 to 3.2 million tonnes, on a par with wool. India and Bangladesh account for about  60% and 30%, respectively, of the world’s production., Bangladesh exports nearly 40% as raw fibre, and  about 50% as manufactured items. India exports nearly 200 000 tonnes of jute products, the remainder being consumed domestically.

Important Fiber Terms