Jute, also known as the golden fibre, is the cheapest natural fibre. Jute is a vegetable fibre, derived from the bark of a reed like plant grown mainly in the subtropical areas of Asia, especially India, Bangladesh and China. It is the second largest plant fibre after cotton and is available in large quantities.
Although some decorative items are produced of it, largely jute is employed in producing utilitarian items. Jute items are gaining popularity because it's the cheapest known natural fibre and are a 100% eco-friendly.
Since the early 1800's, Bengal has been known to produce maximum quantity of Jute all over the world. As a result Bengal boasts of a repertoire of jute crafts. Craftsperson's here create a wide variety of utilitarian items from jute. An elegant range of home décor, furnishings, and garments, hanging lamps, baskets, flower vases, purses, table mats and footwear made out of woven jute fibre are gaining popularity. Jute is also used for making baskets, mats and beautiful toys.
Fabrics made of jute may be decorated with tie and dye, embroidery and block printing.
The jute planters faced a huge loss due to the discovery of polythene and nylon in 1970's. However, since the trend of eco-friendliness became famous, jute was once again in high demand and it has been profitable for the jute farmers too.
An important function jute serves is for packaging purpose. Cereals, vegetables, cement and numerous other things are packaged in the sacks made by jute.
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