Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bangladesh's 'golden fibre' Jute comes back from the brink: Is old technology the way to revitalize the world economy?

Jute, a vegetable fibre that can be spun into sackcloth, used to be the 'golden fibre' of Bangladesh.

It brought much-needed foreign income to the impoverished nation.

But it lost its lustre in the 1980s after synthetic materials like polythene and plastics were introduced.

Now the natural fibre has made a spectacular comeback.

Exports of jute and jute products from Bangladesh this fiscal year crossed a record billion dollars as demand for the natural fibre is steadily increasing.

With growing environmental awareness, jute, which is bio-degradable, has become the preferred alternative to polluting synthetic bags.

Jute is considered to be the second most important natural fibre after cotton in terms of cultivation and usage. It is mainly grown in eastern India, Bangladesh, China and Burma.

Until recently the fibre was used mostly as a packaging material. With a diversification of jute products, the demand for jute has increased. more