Jute: A walk down memory lane

Jute: A walk down memory lane

Author: Sugato Roy | Contributor
S. No.: IJMA/FOI/05112020/1151/JS-29
Date: 05-11-2020 | Time: 11:51 am
All Stories

About the Author

: Sugato Roy is a post-graduate in management and advertising with professional experience spanning 24 years. He has been worked for PR for various companies. Sugato is currently engaged as a freelance copywriter cum content writer with some of his clients.


: The future of jute as a golden fibre and cash crop is obviously bright and the general masses must take more active interest to promote such a harmless and environmentally friendly crop.

Historically if one delves more into the matter it will be seen that even during the sixteenth-century people in India used to wear jute clothes. In the Bengali predominant areas, the fibre was even used for carrying agricultural produces, ropes, and also used for other household chores. Historians have unearthed that the golden fibre was extensively used even during the Indus Valley Civilization and in the Egyptian Civilization. Even the earlier Jews were known to use jute.

With the advent of the Britishers in India and subsequently in Bengal, Jute was extensively cultivated in both parts of Bengal and became part and parcel of the Bengali culture. The English merchants started trading in jute and many jute mills sprang up on both sides of the Ganges.

The colossus structures of the jute mills and their sounds of sirens amply prove that the jute mills and the crop, in particular, have become a part and parcel of the Bengal lifestyle and culture.

The mills started doing extensive business and the term Jute barons came into being describing the English jute merchants who became riches instantaneously. During the last part of the nineteenth century, the volume of jute products from Bengal surpassed the volume of jute products manufactured in Scotland.

The impending World War 1 in the first half of the last century saw millions of jute bags being commissioned and sent to the battlefields and also to the USA to be used for the arms industry. The importance of jute as a rich cash crop could be felt by one and all.

Jute is best grown on alluvial soil and requires standing water. The crop requires relative humidity ranging from 70 to 80% and temperature from 20 to 40 degrees Celsius. Weekly rainfall is also required. This is primarily the reason why the Eastern states are the best places where jute crop is effectively grown.

In India jute is mainly produced in the Eastern region consisting of Bengal, North Bengal, Assam and Bihar where the alluvial soil from the Ganga is the best. Jute because of its softness, cheapness, length, lustre and uniformity is used for making ropes, twines, jute bags, mattresses, decorative bags and a host of other things. On a larger scale, jute bags are used for transportation of cereals and pulses, wheat and rice, raw vegetables and other machine parts and industrial items.

Shopping bags made from jute, curtains, sofa covers, chair coverings, tabletops, tea cosy, teacup coasters are also some of the very popular items with the general masses. Usage of jute carry bags or vegetable marketing and groceries are extremely well known. In Bengal, Jute has also been used comprehensively during the Durga Puja festival either in the form of theme Puja pandals, or pandal decoration and the idol decoration.

Some of the other advantages of jute are they are 100% biodegradable, with good insulation and antistatic features. The fibre also requires very less insecticides and pesticides and a lower maintenance cost.

Jute is a tremendous revenue earner for the country and it is estimated that the fibre was exported to the USA to the tune of INR 5 Billion only last year. The figure is a leap forward from the last previous year. India incidentally is the largest producer of jute in the world and second-largest exporter of the golden fibre. The Government of India has done enormous jobs in promoting the golden fibre.

The state-owned Jute Corporation of India based at Kolkata is doing a yeoman’s job in protecting the interest of the farmers and growers as well as looking after the commercial aspects of the crop globally. Another stellar performance is by the IJMA.

Established in 1884 and renamed in 1902, The IJMA is registered under the Indian Companies Act 1956 since 1989. The University of Calcutta has a separate jute and fibre technology department at its Ballygunge Science College Campus.

The future of jute as a golden fibre and cash crop is obviously bright and the general masses must take more active interest to promote such a harmless and environmentally friendly crop.

Royal Exchange, 3rd Floor, 6, Netaji Subhash Road, Kolkata - 700 001.