This is a short guide about jute.
We outline how jute is grown, how jute is processed and made, + more.
What Is Jute?
- Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads.
Because jute is a natural vegetable fiber, it’s considered an eco friendly fibre. It’s biodegradable and recyclable.
Jute Plant Fibre Traits
- Jute is extracted from the bark of the white jute plant (Corchorus capsularis) and to a lesser extent from tossa jute (C. olitorius).
- Jute fibers are composed primarily of the plant materials cellulose and lignin.
- It falls into the bast fiber category (fiber collected from bast, the phloem of the plant, sometimes called the “skin”) along with kenaf, industrial hemp, flax (linen), ramie, etc.
- The industrial term for jute fiber is raw jute.
- The fibers are off-white to brown, and 1–4 metres (3–13 feet) long.
- Jute is also called the golden fiber for its color and high cash value.
- Jute is one of the most affordable natural fibers in existence and it is second only to cotton in amount produced and variety of uses.
What Is Jute Used For?
- “Jute” is the name of the plant or fiber that is used to make burlap, hessian or gunny cloth.
- Making twine, rope, and matting are among its uses.
- In combination with sugar, the possibility of using jute to build aeroplane panels has been considered.
- Jute is in great demand due to its cheapness, softness, length, lustre and uniformity of its fiber.
- It is called the ‘brown paper bag’ as it is also used to store rice, wheat, grains, etc. It is also called the ‘golden fiber’ due to its versatile nature.
- Jute is used chiefly to make cloth for wrapping bales of raw cotton, and to make sacks and coarse cloth. The fibers are also woven into curtains, chair coverings, carpets, area rugs, hessian cloth, and backing for linoleum.
- Synthetic fibres might be replacing Jute for some of these uses, but jute is remaining a fibre of choice where biodegradability is important
How Is Jute Grown, & Jute Made/Manufactured From Flax Fibres?
- Jute is an annual crop taking about 120 days (April/May-July/August) to grow.
- It thrives in tropical lowland areas with humidity of 60% to 90%. Jute is a rain-fed crop with little need for fertilizer or pesticides.
- Yields are about 2 tonnes of dry jute fibre per hectare.
- [once jute is grown and harvested], the fibres can be extracted by either biological or chemical retting processes.
- Given the expense of using chemicals to strip the fibre from the stem biological processes are more widely practices.
- Biological retting can be done by either by stack, steep and ribbon processes which involve different techniques of bundling jute stems together and soaking in water to help separate the fibres from the stem before stripping.
- After the retting process, stripping begins.
- In the stripping process, non-fibrous matter is scraped off, leaving the fibres to be pulled out from within the stem.
- The major manufactured products from jute fibre are: Yarn and twine, sacking, hessian, carpet backing cloth and as well as for other textile blends.
- It has high tensile strength, low extensibility, and ensures better breathability of fabrics.
- The fibres are woven into curtains, chair coverings, carpets and area rugs and are also often blended with other fibres, both synthetic and natural.
- The finest threads can be separated out and made into imitation silk.
- Jute can also be blended with wool.
- By treating jute with caustic soda, crimp, softness, pliability, and appearance is improved, aiding in its ability to be spun with wool.
- Jute can also be used for packaging, and by products like cosmetics, medicine, paints, and other products.
You can read more about how Jute is grown and what it is used for at http://www.jpdepc.org/about-jute.html
Which Countries Grow & Produce The Most Jute?
- Jute is a product of South Asia and specifically a product of India and Bangladesh. About 95% of world jute is grown in these two south Asian countries. Nepal and Myanmar also produce a small amount of jute.
- 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.
You can see the top 10 producers by metric tonne in 2014 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jute
Value Of The Jute Industry
- The size of the global jute industry [in 2013] is ~USD 1.75 billion, of which India accounts for ~USD 1.25 billion or 70% of jute produced.
Jute is a natural fibre with eco friendly qualities. As demand for natural fibres grows, it’s expected the jute industry can grow. But, the popularity of cheap alternatives like plastic do also limit the demand for jute.