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Jute cultivation in India. Jute is by far the most important fibre in India, and is an important item of international trade. Its demand is based upon the fact that it is the cheapest fibre for bagging agriculture products. The climatic requirements confine the cultivation mainly to Ganges-Brahmaputra delta in West Bengal, and Assam. Of late jute cultivation is also assuming importance in the Mahanadi delta of Orissa. When the fibre is sufficiently retted, the bark is peeled from the plant by hand.
More commercial than sericulture the jute farming is almost the monopoly of the intensive subsistence agricultural region of the densely populated parts of southeastern Asia, which accounts for 99% of the world's output of jute. Though jute plants are grown in many countries of the region more than 95% comes from India (39%), Bangladesh (35%) and China (21%). Jute farming is more commercial, because the greater part of its production enters the international market either as raw jute or as jute manufactures. It is more commercial because even the food acreage makes way for jute, whereas sericulture is developed on the infertile and uncultivable tracts.
The fibre is the inner bark or bast lying between the outer bark and pith. The jute fibre is characterized by its softness strength, length and the uniformity of size. It is the cheapest of all the commercial fibres. Major products are begs, covers carpets, rugs, yarns, twines and also art goods. However, jute goods are specially demanded for their use in moving such commercial products as rice, wheat, wool, cotton, fruits and small pieces of hardware.
Physical and economic condition. Jute plant is both heat and water loving in character. It grows best where the temperature is more than 27°C and the rainfall is seasonal and more than 170 cm per year. During the growing period relative humidity must not be below 80%. The best soil conditions are furnished by the highly fertile alluvial and deltaic plains, which are flooded annually. The level plains also contain numerous pools of water in the form of tanks, which facilitate the retting of jute stalks,
The preparation of jute fibre involves, cutting, retting, peeling, washing and curing-all time consuming hand processes. It requires a plentiful supply of cheap labour. The history of jute cultivation points to the importance of nearness of the jute mill industry to the growing region, since it provides a ready market for the raw jute.
Producing areas. More than 95% of the world's jute is produced by India, Bangladesh and the People's Republic of China. Apart from these countries, jute is cultivated at very limited scales in Burma, Nepal, Thailand, Russia and Brazil.
Trade. Bangladesh is the largest exporter of raw jute in the world, Dundee mills in Scotland are the importers of raw jute. India also takes some jute from Bangladesh. India, is the biggest exporter of jute manufactures in the world. U.S.A., U.K., Japan, Germany, Australia, Argentina and Canada are the buyers of India's jute manufactures.