NIRJAFT

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PRODUCTION

Introduction

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Jute is a natural fibre and considered as the golden fibre. Jute is obtained from the stems of two plants grown mainly in the Indian subcontinent. The botanical names of the plants from which jute is obtained are Corchorus capsularis (White) and Corchorus olitorius (Tossa). It is one of the cheapest and the strongest of all natural fibres. India, Bangladesh, China and Thiland are the leading producers of jute. India is the largest producer of jute goods in the world, while Bangladesh is the largest cultivator of raw jute. The cultivation of jute in India is mainly confined to the eastern region states: West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Orrisa, Uttarpradesh. Total jute cultivation land area is approximately 822 thousand hectares. In India about 4000,000 families are involved in the cultivation of raw jute. There are 76 jute mills in India and nearly 1,37,679 people are employed in these mills. Average production of jute goods is 1605 thousand tons per annum. India is also self sufficient in the jute seed production. The state seed corporation of Andhra Pradesh and Maharastra produces more than 90% of seeds. Jute, a natural fibre, has many inherent advantages like lusture, high tensile strength, low extensibility, moderate heat and fire resistance. It is biodegradable and ecofriendly. Hence, it protects the environment and maintain the ecological balance. Jute is not only a major textile fibre but also a raw material for non-traditional and value added non-textile products.
 


Cultivation
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Jute is grown in the rainy season in temperatures of 70-100o F with relative humidities of 65-95 per cent and requires a total rainfall of about 10 inch during the month of March, April, and May. Corchorus  capsularis rarely exceeds a height of 12 ft compared with 15 ft for Corchorus olitorius. Tossa is grown on the higher ground because the crop withstands floods later than white and so does not need to be cut at the normal flood-threat time. Tossa has a higher yield per acre compared to white jute. Average yield is 1300 lb per acre.
 


Climate and soils
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Low-lying, slightly acidic, alluvial soils in river complexes are particularly suited to jute growing, especially when these soils are revitalized by flooding each year and a deposit of slit is left on them when the flood waters recede, but the fibre can be grown on lighter sandy soils provided large quantities of manure are fed into the ground. Jute requires a warm and humid climate. Constant rain or water logging is harmful.
 


Sowing
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Sowing of jute in midlands and high land starts with showers in March or April and continues till early June in the western part of the jute belt. Compost or farmyard manure, phosphorous and potash, nitrogen fertilisers are used as a fertilizer. Inter-culturing is essential in the early stage. Sowing is usually done by the broadcast method at the rate of 10 lb of seed per acre for C. capsularis and 6 lb per acre for C. olitorius. A light covering of earth is then drawn over the seeds until they are 1-1.5 inch below the surface, and the surface is consolidated by laddering. Weeding and thinning are carried out manually, usually in two stages when the plants are 3-6 inch tall. Weeding is by far the most laborious part of jute growing, accounting for 30 – 40 percent of all the labour involved.
 


Harvesting
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It is harvested from June to September (between 120 days to 150 days) depending upon whether the sowings are early or late. Early harvesting gives good healthy fibres.  The plants are cut off close to the ground with a sickle and in the plots which are flooded the workers must dive beneath the water to do this. Where the water is 2-3 ft deep the plants may be simply pulled up by the roots and then the roots cut off when the stems are on the banks. On the higher ground the stems are stacked for a few days to let the leaves fall and then they are bundled ready for the next stage in fibre extraction. Jute harvested from low ground has its stems bundled immediately after cutting.
 


Fibre extraction
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The fibres of jute plant lie beneath the bark and surrounded the woody central part of the stem. To extract the fibres from the stem, the process is carried out in the following stages:
 


Retting
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Retting is a process in which the tied bundles of jute stalks are taken to the tank by which the fibres get loosened and separated from the woody stalk. The bundles are steeped in water at least 60 cm to 100 cm depth. The retting process is completed in 8 to 15 days, when the barks separate out easily from the stick or wood and this fibres are ready for extraction. A development in recent years is the adoption of ribbon retting technology in jute growing trade of the country.
When there is a plenty of water, bundles of stalks are laid in the pond ditches or slow moving streams and left for 5-15 days under water.
 


Stripping
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Stripping is the process of removing the fibres from the stalk after the completion of retting. Fibres are removed from the stalk by any one of the following methods:
Single plants are taken and their fibres are taken off,
Taken off a handful of stalks, breaking it in a to and fro motion in water,
Washing the stalks first by standing in waist deep water and then stripping afterwards.
 


Washing and Drying
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Extracted fibres are washed in clean water. The dark colour of fibres can be removed by dipping them in tamarind water for 15 to 20 minutes and again washed in clean water. After squeezing excess water fibres are hang on bamboo railing for sun drying for 2-3 days.
 


Bailing and packing
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The jute fibre is graded and packed into Pucca bales about 250 pounds for use in the home trade. They are transported to jute market or direct to jute mills
 


Fibre Marketing
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The movement of jute from the growers to the home mills or the exporters is one of collection, assembly, storage, and transportation at several different stages, each becoming a larger and more important link in the chain.

Jute from cultivator to Bi weekly village market or Hat to larger secondary centres(Kutcha baler) to  larger terminal market(Pucca bailer) to Mill or export