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Second to rice, jute is the world’s most used fibre. Jute is naturally grown in many parts of India including Bihar, Assam, Orissa, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. The Indian Textile Industry mainly depends upon the Indian Jute Industry. In the recent past this traditional industry of India has been facing a downfall because of the competition faced from, once the best part of India’s jute producing area- Bangladesh. This Industry once the largest foreign exchange earner for India. Apart from 4 million cultivators around 200,000 people are given employment opportunities in this industry. In India jute goods are mainly in the form of hessian (fabrics), sacks, carpet backing and carpets. Other fancy products like curtains and handbags are also being produced of late and approximately 1.6mn tonnes a year of these are being produced. In the coming years this industry is expected to grow at a rate somewhere between 1% and 1.3%. Jute is also used in furniture, curtains, upholstery, and dashboards & side panels in cars making its use diverse.

About 200,000 people are making a living in the production of jute. That’s a very big number. Efforts are being made to turn the production of jute into a full-fledged cooperative society function. This will help many under privileged people in earning their living.

India gives birth to about 1.6 million tons of jute goods every year. Mainly, these include various fabrics, carpets and other fancy goods such as handbags and even curtains. The jute industry has been estimated to grow in the coming years, owing to its diverse uses in the manufacturing of upholstery, side panels and even furniture. Denim clothes, which have gained a lot of popularity in the world of fashion, also fall under this category. Also, the paper used in cigarette paper also consists of a little jute. As jute is bio-degradable, ie will naturally decompose without harming the environment, it makes it even more popular in the world where everyone is going exceedingly green. People have started becoming reluctant to use plastic shopping bags, due to the danger they possess to the environment. Jute is an answer to that moral and scientific problem. Indian jute bags are largely exported to the European countries.

Efforts are being made to make this already diverse industry a lot more diverse in the applications and uses, as well as the production processes. Companies such as Birla corp, Ganges manufacturing, Hoogly mills projects and Anglo Indian jute, are all kings, or at least the princes of jute production.

After West Bengal, Bihar is the largest manufacturer of Jute in India. Of course, the amount of jute contributed by Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand is much higher.

In the next few years, the revenue, sales and production numbers in this area are only expected to rise. The future is very bright for anyone who wants to venture into this field. In a society where slowly and steadily, all ‘non-green’ things are on their way out, jute might just maintain its place.

Areas of Jute cultivation in India and world:

The low, nearly level, alluvial and deltaic plains of the Ganges and Brahamputra rivers, with their friable soil the fertility of which is renewed by annual inundation are main areas of jute cultivation. These areas stand for nearly 80% of land under jute cultivation in India. These areas give high yield per acre even without crop rotation or fertilization. Other areas of jute cultivation include the parts of Biliar, Orissa, U.P., Meghalaya and Tripura states which accounts for rest of land under jute cultivation. India alone controls nearly 38% of world’s land under jute cultivation folIowed by Bangladesh (nearly 21%), China (nearly 13,5%), Thailand (nearly 6 %). Other countries like Brazil, Western African countries etc. share the rest of the land under jute cultivation

In India jute is grown during the rainy season , .since a moist heat is favorable to its growth. The jute areas receive more than 65″ of rain per year, most of it falling from April to September. During this period the mean monthly temperature is more than 800 F and the relative humidity between 80 and 90 %. It thrives well in areas with alternate periods of sunshine and rainfall. Young jute plants are very sensitive to water logging which retards their growth. It is desirable to adjust the showing time of jute in such a way that the crop may attain a height of 3 to 4 feet before the arrival of the monsoon. Many tributaries, dis-tributaries and depressions receive flood waters from the heavy precipitation in the headwaters of the major streams and famish numerous pools of water needed for the preparation of the fiber. These streams provide the chief means of transporting the fiber to the major markets.

As these areas are highly populated cheap but skilled laborers are’ available. Labor accounts for about 1/5 of production cost. This is high owing not so much to unit wages paid but to the methods of cultivation and preparation which require large number of workers

A SWOT Analysis of Jute Industry

Strength

  1. Jute industry enjoys a growing domestic and prosperous export market.
  2. Jute, being a natural fibre, is biodegradable, strong and eco-friendly in nature
  3. Jute fibre has intrinsic high tenacity and low elongation.
  4. The jute-growing region of India is in close proximity to Calcutta Industrial Region, ensuring steady supply of raw materials.
  5. Jute fibre is generally less susceptible microbial damage due to cross linkage with lignin ensuring its long durability (as per the opinion of Central Research Institute For Jute and Allied Fibres)
  6. Jute is the second most important industry next to cotton textiles and plays a dominant role in the industrial economy of eastern India supporting nearly 40 lakh farmers, 2 lakh industrial workers and 5 lakh workers in ancillary activities.
  7. Jute bags as industrial packaging give consumer the best value for money
  8. Jute packaging materials have a life cycle equivalent to 4/5 times for sacking and 2/3 times for Hessians reuse cycle, thereby strongly contributing to the conservation of natural resources. Further, godown space could be used to the optimum level only by using of jute packaging materials
  9. Jute byproducts are used as alternative fuel.

Weakness

  1. Jute industry has so far been linked to industrial packaging sector only.
  2. Jute diversification has started in a small way.
  3. Jute industry is burdened with high cost of raw material, labour, power and low productivity.
  4. Jute products suffer from inadequate marketing and market research.
  5. Jute industry’s adoption of modem technology is poor.
  6. Jute packaging is costlier compared to its competitor namely, synthetic packaging materials (high density polyethylene and polypropylene).
  7. Jute processing requires sufficient fresh water bodies for retting to produce quality fibre. Scarcity of fresh water bodies in jute growing rural areas acts as a hindrance for quality retting.

Opportunity

  1. Jute has a vast untapped potential market both in India and abroad.
  2. Jute enjoys preference as an eco-friendly material among the environmental conscious consumers at large.
  3. Jute diversified products offer a wide range of choice to the consumers in terms of variety. The products include multipurpose jute bags, food grade bags for tea/coffee industry, jute geo-textiles, blended jute fibre with other fibres like cotton, synthetic, wool, ramie, pineapple etc., jute or jute blended fabrics for apparel industry technical textiles (jute felt) for automotive use (tried a few years ago in Europe for manufacturing the base moulded panel for cars such as ‘Audi’, ‘Porsche’, ‘Daimler Benz’, ‘Mercedes Benz’ etc.), jute composites like Eco-Wood, jute particle board etc., floor coverings; decorative fabrics and home textile made-ups; polypropylene woollenised jute blanket, improved jute yam for the machine carpet industry, electrical industry and horticulture sector.
  4. Quality paper, particularly newsprint, could be produced in great quantities from mesta, variety MT 150 (an allied fibre of jute). ‘A renewable raw material for paper making is, therefore, essential for saving costly foreign exchange drainage and forest biodiversity, and for bringing balanced enrichment of economics and ecology.
  5. Quality jam, jelly and sauce could be produced from roselle (an allied fibre). It is economically viable and absolutely harmless for human consumption.
  6. Hibiscus (another variety of mesta) seeds could serve well as an additional source of edible oil. This oil compares well with other edible vegetable oils.

Threat

  1. Jute packaging is under severe threat from cheaper synthetic packaging materials.
  2. Jute packaging is also under threat from stiff competition of bulk packaging and containerization using alternative packaging media/technique.
  3. Unless the militancy of trade unions on the one hand, and inefficiency of management on the other can be changed, jute industry will continue to face internal threats.

From the foregoing analysis, it is clear that the resource persons have much interest and hope for the industry. They are well acquainted with the issues. But they are anxious about the decline of the industry as well as the industrial region. The development of the industry is connected with the development of the industrial region and vice versa. They are hopeful that the revival of the industry would be possible with a proper planning, effective marketing network and the merit of the jute products itself.

The Jute And Jute Textile Industry

The Jute industry occupies an important place in the national economy of India. It is one of the major industries in the eastern region, particularly in West Bengal. Jute, the golden fiber, meets all the standards for safe packaging in view of being a natural, renewable, biodegradable and eco-friendly product. It is estimated that that the jute industry provides direct employment to 0.37 million workers in organized mills and in diversified units including tertiary sector and allied activities and supports the livelihood of around 4.0 million farm families. In addition there are a large number of persons engaged in the trade of jute.

Milestones Indian Jute Industry

  1. The biggest manufacturer of raw jute around the globe.
  2. The largest producer of jute goods worldwide.
  3. The immense capability to produce the huge range of products assortment.
  4. Complete and high standard R&D facilities in the segment of jute agriculture, developing the product and machinery.
  5. World standard infrastructure, such as ports, logistic facilities etc.
  6. A pulsating industry oriented to provide highest buyer satisfaction.
  7. The capacity to manufacture and cater the global demand for apparel and food-grade jute bags.
  8. Food-grade jute bags and cloth produced in India – are an advantage in the framework of worldwide environmental and natural distress. Indian food-grade jute bags have a doubled edged benefit, preserving food in all natural way.

Jute, the golden fiber, meets all the standards for safe packaging in view of being a natural, renewable, biodegradable and eco-friendly product. The principal varieties of jute in India are tossa (Corchorus Olitorious) and white jute (Corchorus Capsularis). Though jute plant is known principally for its versatile fiber, every part of the plant has its use. The tender leaves are cooked and consumed as vegetables. The leaves which fall off the plant enrich the soil, about 1 MT of dry matter is put back into the soil and about 3 MT of roots remain per acre of land. The stick which remains after jute fiber is extracted is used as a domestic fuel and also as a cheap building material. The plant itself has a very high carbon dioxide assimilation ability; in the 120 days of its growing period, an acre of jute absorbs about 6 MT of carbon dioxide form atmosphere and releases 4.4 MT of oxygen; several times higher than trees. Apart from the versatility of the jute plant, the plant compares very favorably in terms of its ecological footprint when compared with synthetic packaging materials.

Raw Jute Scenario

Raw jute crop is an important cash crop to the farmers. Cultivation of raw jute crop provides not only fibre which has industrial use, but jute stick which is used as fuel and building material by the farming community.

There is always significant fluctuation in the area under jute cultivation in India. The year to year fluctuations arise out of three factors:

  1. Fluctuation in rainfall during the sowing season,
  2. The average raw jute prices realized during the previous jute season, and
  3. The returns realized from competing crops during the previous season. A significant area under jute competes with paddy during the same season.

Hence, year to year fluctuations in the prices of jute relative to the prices of paddy would generally influence the relative allocation of land between the two crops.

Minimum Support Price (MSP) For Raw Jute And Mesta

Minimum Support Price for raw jute and mesta is fixed every year to protect the interest of farmers. While fixing prices of different grades, the issue of discouraging production of lower grade jute and encouraging production of higher grades jute are taken into consideration so as to motivate farmers to produce higher grade jute.

Jute Corporation of India (JCI) is the Price Support Agency of the Govt. of India for jute. It was set up in 1971 primarily to protect the interest of the Jute Growers through procurement of Raw Jute under the MSP fixed by the Govt. of India from time to time and also to stabilize the raw jute market for the benefit of the jute farmers and the jute economy as a whole. JCI is conducting MSP operation as and when required. Raw jute is transacted in over 500 centers countywide. Presently, JCI is operating only at 171 Departmental Purchase Centers. Co-operatives operate at about 40 centers. JCI in turn purchases the jute procured by these Co-operatives. Government of India provides a subsidy of approximately Rs.55 crores per year to enable JCI to maintain the infrastructure and manpower for meeting the requirements of MSP operations.

The minimum support price is fixed by the Govt. on the basis of recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). As per CACP reports, while formulating the agricultural price policy CACP takes into account various factors such as cost of production, overall demand/supply situation, domestic and international prices and effect of minimum support price on general price level. CACP every year also conducts meetings of all stake holders to decide minimum support price.

The procurement of jute under MSP is contingent upon the prices prevailing in the market for raw jute at any point of time. In addition, it is often seen that it may be more remunerative for farmers to sell directly to traders/manufacturers as the price of raw jute is not just determined by input costs but also by demand for it. The market prices are much higher than the remunerative MSP.

Incentives to Jute Sector

Jute Packaging Materials (Compulsory use in packing commodities) Act, 1987

Jute Packaging Material ( Compulsory Use in Packaging Commodities ) Act, 1987 (JPM Act) has been enacted to provide for the compulsory use of jute packaging material in the supply and distribution of certain commodities in the interests of production of raw jute and jute packaging material, and of persons engaged in the production thereof, and for matters connected therewith. Clause 4 (1) of the Jute Packaging Material (Compulsory Use in Packaging Commodities) Act, 1987 empowers the Central Government to constitute Standing Advisory Committee consisting of such persons as have, in the opinion of that Government, the necessary expertise to give advice in the matter of determining the commodity or class of commodities or percentages thereof in respect of which jute packaging material shall be used in their packing.

Central Government after considering the recommendations of SAC, may from time to time, issue orders under section 3(1) of the JPM Act for compulsory use of jute packaging material or certain commodity or class of commodities or percentages thereof, if it is satisfied that it is necessary to do so in the interest of production of raw jute and jute packaging material. Based upon the demand & supply position of raw jute and jute Goods, the Government prescribes reservation of commodities to be packed in Jute. The Government attempts to provide as much reservation as possible to utilize the jute crop that is produced in the country, without creating the bottle-neck in the supply-distribution chain of the commodities.

For the jute year 2014-15, Ministry of Textiles issued Notification S.O. 527(E) dated 13.02.2015 stipulating that minimum of 90% of foodgrain and minimum of 20% of sugar to be compulsorily packed in jute packaging materials for the Jute year 2014-15, valid upto 30th June, 2015, which has been extended upto 31st December, 2015.

New Initiatives

Possibilities are being explored for large scale use of jute in making paper and composites.

  1. The use of Jute Geo-textiles is being promoted.
  2. R&D is being promoted for the use of jute in different sectors like automobiles, roads, construction etc.
  3. New retting technology have been developed and trials of the same is being done.
  4. Efforts are being done to modernize the jute industry.
  5. Efforts are being done to explore new uses of jute fibre on mass scale through National Institute of Design (NID).
  6. The Jute Diversified Products (JDPs) are being promoted for domestic consumption as well as for exports.

Jute Technology Mission

The Jute Technology Mission has been a major component of the National Jute Policy and is the vehicle for implementation of multifarious programmes in the jute sector, both present and future. Pursuant to the National Jute Policy, 2005, the CCEA approved the Jute Technology Mission (2006-07 to 2010-11) in its meeting held on 02.6.2006 with a total outlay of Rs.355.55 crore. The Jute Technology Mission comprised four Mini Missions, to be completed during 2006-07 to 2010-11.

Subsequently, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the extension of the implementation period of the ―Jute Technology Mission (2006-07 to 2010-11)‖ by two years beyond 2010-11(i.e. 2006-07 to 2012-13).

Since inception of the scheme, 11 market yards developed and 28 Departmental Purchase Centre (DPC) & 43 Retting Tanks were constructed. A total investment of Rs.518.61 crore for Modernization and Upgradation of Technology in Jute Mills was made under the Capital Subsidy Scheme in 120 units all over India. Productivity improvement & TQM facilitation exercises were undertaken and implemented in 12 mills as processes for good governance. 21 markets driven R&D Studies for development of new processes and new diversified products were conducted by reputed institutions of India. Training was imparted to 24131 workers in 39 jute mills for sustainable human resource development. Under schemes for assisting NGOs and Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs) in developing jute diversified products, 57 NGOs in 428 clusters involving 2106 Women Self Help Groups in 121 districts of 19 States benefitted 28,170 artisans. Moreover, 1971 training programmes benefiting 37750 artisans were organized and 828 JDP-SHG units were setup. Four Jute Parks were established with 27 manufacturing units.

Jute Diversified Products

The jute industry is predominantly leaning on jute sacking to the detriment of the industry as is evident from the long-standing absence of diversification and modernization. There is a need for enabling the jute sector to develop of various other diversified products. While there has been a drop in the overall export of Jute products by 15% during the year 2014-15, there has been a growth of 5% in the Jute Diversified Products (JDPs), indicating a rising global demand for such products. It is necessary to produce and market different JDPs such as jute shopping bags, Jute floor coverings, Jute based home furnishings & wall coverings, and Jute based handicrafts. The promotion of diversification will help in making the jute industry less dependent on state support and will also ensure that the industry becomes competitive and self-sustaining so that the opportunities prevailing in the global and domestic markets are tapped successfully.

Steps have been taken for promoting better agronomic practices in jute farming, promotion of the Jute Diversified Products (JDPs) and their marketing, support for technological up-gradation of jute mills, etc. Steps have also been taken to promote JDP clusters operated by Women Self Help Groups at block level formed under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) by providing them support on forward and backward linkages – such as design, training, raw material and common facility infrastructure. In pursuance of this, the Ministry has signed an MOU with the National Institute of Design (NID) for facilitating design of Jute Diversified Products. Also, Jute Common Facility Centres (CFCs) scheme has been launched on 1.9.2015 for providing avenues for value addition, production, quality assurance through construction facility, direct support to members, integrated design, product development, training and market development etc. Five Common Facility Centre (CFC) are sanctioned at the five locations in West Bengal (3), Assam (1) and Bihar (1) in major jute growing district. An amount of Rs.10 crores has been allocated for 2015-16. Operation of the CFC shall be transferred to a Cooperative Society or Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs) in due course.

For promotion of large scale use of Jute Geotextiles for control of erosion, road construction, river embankments and in slope stabilization, major Government Departments and State Governments are advised to promote use of jute as geo-textiles. Special scheme for promotion of Geo-Textiles has been launched in the North Eastern States on 24.3.2015 with outlay of Rs.427 crores.

Project Jute-ICARE (Jute: Improved Cultivation and Advanced Retting Exercise)

The project Jute-ICARE (Jute: Improved Cultivation and Advanced Retting Exercise) has been launched to support the small and marginal jute growers with adequate pre and post harvesting operations in select blocks, where jute cultivation is popular with a view to improving the income of farmers through improvement in yield and the quality of the fibres. Under this project jute growers will be provided with 100% certified seeds. The Jute Corporation of India (JCI), Central Research Institute for jute and Allied Fibres (CRIJAF), an R&D organization under the Ministry of Agriculture and National Jute Board (NJB) are jointly implementing the project on a pilot basis. Training and Seed Distribution work have been started in three blocks in West Bengal.

Jute: Fiber of the Future

Jute, well known as ‘Golden Fiber’ is used for clothing, cordage and sacking. Jute is factually one of the most resourceful fibers nature gifted to man, which has several uses. After cotton, it is the cheapest and most significant of all textile fibers.

Jute is the lowest priced lignocellulosic, long vegetable bast fibre accessible around the globe. Jute farming generates work for hundreds of thousands of farmers, laborers, industrial workers and indirectly creating job opportunity for several others.

Resourceful Options

Massive acceptance of jute for wide ranges of life style consumer products is a result of great versatility of Jute. Spinning and weaving of the high quality yarns into light weight fine textured fabrics of standardized constitution in beautiful colors and designs are conducted in both handlooms and factories. Highly enhanced processes like bleaching, dyeing and finishing and by mixing jute with other synthetic and natural fibers, results better feel, shine, graze resistance and artistic appeal.

Handicrafts

The traditional Indian craftsmanship and art is reflected in a huge range of jute clothing, handicrafts, decorative materials and many more products. Exotic product assortment of Jute comprises floor covering and carpets, window/door and wall coverings, table mats, swings, bags, hammocks, room decor, bedroom slippers, bedspreads, shawls, blankets, shirts, skirts and other clothing items, and an ideal host for many other home textile products.

Uses

Jute can be considered as an eco-friendly natural fiber with hundreds of application prospects that ranges from geo-textiles to apparel, carpet, decorative items, upholstery, home furnishings, fancy non-woven etc. With versatility, jute deserves to be considered as the best fiber for the future.