Jute is a long, soft, shiny fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads.
It is one of the cheapest natural fibers, and is second only to cotton in amount
produced and variety of uses. It belongs to the genus Corchorus in the basswood
family, Tiliaceae. Jute, one of the oldest surviving agro-industries in India, has been
traditionally in use for flexible packaging, specially sacks. Nowadays, the fibers
are also woven into curtains, chair coverings, carpets, and trendy handbags. Very fine
threads of jute are also made into imitation silk. The fibers are used alone or blended
with other types of fibers to make twine and rope.
India is the largest producer of Jute. It is also the leading producer of mangoes,
cashews, peanuts, pulses, sesame seeds, tea, and many spices like cardommom, ginger
and turmeric. It is also a leading producer of cauliflowers, onions, rice, sugar cane,
apples, bananas, coconuts, coffee, cotton, eggplants, oranges, potatoes, rubber, tobacco,
and wheat. India has the world's highest percentage of arable land to the total
geographical area, in the world. Agriculture accounts for about 10% of India's
exports and still serves as the livelihood for millions of Indians.