The History of Jute

  • By Shefali Ahuja
  • •  Feb 23, 2019

The Jute trade in India originated from Bangladesh and West Bengal, due to the highly fertile soils there. In the 16th century, Jute made the poor people self sufficient as they handmade items of Jute such as ropes, twines and clothing. The use of Jute also had an effect on the outside world via the East India Company. The British originally used Flax and Hemp in Spinning Machines but shifted to Jute after seeing its usage in India.
Jute was difficult to process mechanically until a revolutionary process made it a lot easier. A coffee planter, George Auckland, built the first spinning machine driven by power, on the bank of the Hooghly river in Bengal. The necessary power for the machinery was provided by the opening of coal mines nearby. Other Jute mills followed the same route and set themselves up by the Hooghly river, which made the area the largest Jute Manufacturing centre of the world.
The Jute trade to the Scottish became an important part of the Bengali Economy. During the world wars, Jute Sacks and Sandbags were globally exported from Bengal. After the wars , the Jute Trade went on, now used in backing of Carpets and Packaging.
By the 1960s, the raw jute and products demand reached its highest point, which Bengal couldn't provide. Thus the rise of Synthetics like Nylon led to the decline of Jute. Although since 2004, the market has recovered, with a 500% increase in the prices of Jute.
Today, Jute is extensively used as being a natural fibre, it is more eco friendly than the synthetic options. Jute bags are used as common alternatives to the plastic bags. Packaging Materials, Gunny Fabric and Various types of bag account to 75 percent of Jute products. Carpet backing accounts for 15 percent of the Jute Trade while other uses include yarns, decorative clothes, twines and heavy duty Industrial products.

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