Question: Jute industry is facing chronic challenges for sustaining its production. Explain the factors influencing localisation of jute industry. Highlight challenges in growth of the Indian jute industry.
Answer: Jute is known as golden fibre due to high profits generated by production of the fibre. However the industry does not hold the title anymore due to changing situation.
Jute is majorly grown in lower reaches of Ganges plains mainly in Bihar and West Bengal. It subsequently extends into Bangladesh, where it is an established industry.
Factors influencing location
The lower Ganges valley experiences hot and humid climate throughout the year. This helps the fibre to provide maximum output.
The crop requires high rainfall distributed throughout the year. The lower Ganges valley experiences high monsoon rainfall and also experiences reverse monsoon and pre-monsoon showers.
- Soil nature
The nature of soil should be well drained and fertile with high amount of moisture and humus. The lower Ganges valley has such soils formed due to alluvial deposition and climate.
The previous market for jute fibres was outside India that forced the industry to locate near ports of Bengal. Today, there is no market concentration rather it is distributed.
The process of growing, harvesting and harnessing the fibres is a lengthy process requiring high skill sets. This is present among residents of the lower Ganges region.
Challenges for Indian jute industry
- Artificial fibres
Artificial fibres have captured a large amount of market that has forced jute demand to come down. This has reduced profits and also prevented sustained growth of the crop.
- Old technology
The technology for post production of jute is still old that has increased the efforts and time needed to process the fibres. This has been a major factor preventing jute fibre expansion.
- Market loss
Majority of global jute markets have been captured by Bangladesh as its production is high and can adjust to high demands. This has impacted Indian jute industry.
Indian government has made use of jute sacks for grain storage compulsory so that jute industry continues to grow.
Thus, jute industry has great potential for development if its usage is diversified. New products have to be launched to help the industry to grow.