Jute (including kenaf) was an important foreign exchange earner for the producing countries during ’60s. Even during the ’70s, jute was an important commodity for most of the producing countries. However, during the ’80s, bulk handling techniques and synthetic substitutes entered the market and jute started losing its predominant position in the market.
The steady decline in markets for traditional jute products forced the Governments and Jute Industry to take up programs for development of diversified jute products over the last few years.
International agencies and governments in both exporting and importing countries have supported research and development (R & D) efforts in developing new products from jute, a versatile and environment-friendly natural fibre. Commercialisation of these products is expected to open up new possibilities of reviving the jute economy and to help to improve the economic conditions of farmers (including women) and workers in producing countries. Production and commercialisation of value added jute products would create additional employment opportunities and assist in alleviating poverty in the jute producing countries.
Traditionally jute has been used to manufacture packaging materials like hessian, sacking, ropes, twines, carpet backing cloth etc. In order to overcome the declining market of these conventional products of jute, new technologies have been evolved for bulk use of jute, as a raw material in the production of high value added and price competitive intermediaries or final products. A host of innovative new products have been developed with high value-addition such as home textiles, jute composites, jute geo-textiles, paper pulp, technical textiles, chemical products, handicrafts and fashion accessories etc. These products for new, alternative and non-traditional use of jute are generally termed as Diversified Jute Products.
Among the various diversified jute products, floor coverings, home textiles, technical textiles, geotextiles, jute nonwovens, jute reinforced composites, pulp & paper, particle boards, shopping bags, handicrafts, fashion accessories, apparels etc. have potential for wider use and application.