| Botanical Aspects |

| Varieties of Jute | | Ecology | | Growing Regions | | Planting |
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Jute, Kenaf & Roselle Plants

Jute (Corchorus capsularis & Corchorus olitorius), Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) and Roselle (H. sabdariffa var (Altissima) are vegetable bast fibre plants next to cotton in importance. In the trade there are usually two names of jute, White and Tossa. Corchorus capsularis is called White Jute and Corchorus olitorius is called Tossa Jute. . In general usually in India both kenaf and mesta designated as mesta. Jute fibres are finer and stronger than Mesta and are, therefore, better in quality.

Depending on demand, price and climate, the annual production of jute and allied fibres in the world remains around 3.5 million tonnes.

The fibre finds its use in the producing as well as in consuming countries in the agricultural, industrial, commercial and domestic fields. Sacking and Hessians (Burlap) constitute the bulk of the manufactured products. Sacking is commonly used as packaging material for various agricultural commodities viz., rice, wheat, vegetables, corn, coffee beans etc. Sacking and Hessian Cloth are also used as packing materials in the cement and fertilizer manufacturing industries (New J.H. 1993). Fine Hessian is used as carpet backing and often made into big bags for packaging other fibres viz. cotton and wool.

 

Jute ranks next to cotton as a natural fibre. Jute is a bast fibre crop along with a family of few other natural fibres together generally called as Jute & Allied Fibre Crops (JAF). They mainly occur in the equatorial, the tropical and the sub-tropical zones. The main species of jute and kenaf, which are the major components of JAF,  under cultivation include tossa jute (Corchorus olitorius), white jute (C. capsularis), kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) and roselle/  mesta (H. sabdariffa)

 

The preference for cultivation of one species or the other varies from country to country. Jute is preferred by Bangladesh, India and Nepal; and kenaf is mainly grown in China and Indonesia, while roselle/ mesta is preferred in Thailand. The cultural and other aspects of JAF crops are more or less the same while the fibre characteristics differ. The fibres of jute are relatively finer than those of kenaf and roselle; together these are called ‘raw jute’ because of vast similarity in majority of the characteristics and their use. Of the two jute contributes the major share of production. For a list of other important natural fibres please see Appendix.

 

Centres of origin
 

The prominent genera in this group of JAF are Corchorus and Hibiscus. In fact, Corchorus, a genus of the family Tiliaceae and Hibiscus of Malvaceae, share more or less the same pattern of geographical distribution as they are related phylogenetically. Both belong to the same sub-order Malvineae of the order Malvales. The number of Corchorus species is probably around 50–60, but over 170 Corchorus names are given in the Index Kewensis. The genus is extremely variable, but all species are apparently highly fibrous.

Corchorus species are found in warm regions throughout the world, on all continents and on numerous tropical and sub-tropical islands. However, the centre of diversity and origin of the genus appears to be Africa, where the largest number of Corchorus species, around 30 has been found with highest concentration reported from East and South Africa. Of the cultivated species C. capsularis is omnipresent in Indo-Mynamar and South China, from where it migrated into India and Bangladesh. In contrast, C. olitorius originated from North Australia and Africa. Though many workers earlier held the view about this species being native to Sri Lanka, India and Kenya, it is now generally agreed to have originated in Africa and migrated to India and China via Egypt and Syria.

 

 

 
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