Jute is a renewable natural fiber, is also bio- degradable and environmentally friendly, it is one of the few crops, which can be grown in the monsoon season, and can be rotated with rice to restore the soil fertility and structure. It is Known mainly as the raw material for making sacks, jute finds extensive use in the making of handicrafts today. The leaves of jute plants enrich the fertility of the soil for sustained agriculture, and have good nutrition value as vegetables. Use of jute sticks as fuel and fencing material as substitute for wood prevents deforestation. Therefore, the increased global concern for the environment, the future prospects for jute remains high. The jute plant is an annual plant that thrives best in moist soil in a hot, humid climate. Seeds are hand-sown, and plants mature in three months, often averaging a height of 10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.6 meters). Their light green leaves are arrow-shaped, and small yellow flowers bloom singly or in clusters. Jute is classified scientifically in the genus Corchorus.
Several historical documents (including, Ain-e-Akbari by Abul Fazal in 1590) state that the poor villagers of India used to wear clothes made of jute. Simple handlooms and hand spinning wheels were used by the weavers, who used to spin cotton yarns as well. History also states that Indians, especially Bengalis, used ropes and twines made of white jute from ancient times for household and other uses.
Tossa jute (Corchorus olitorius) is an Afro-Arabian variety. It is quite popular for its leaves that are used as an ingredient in a mucilaginous potherb called molokhiya, popular in certain Arab countries. The Book of Job in the Hebrew Bible mentions this vegetable potherb as Jew’s mallow.Tossa jute fibre is softer, silkier, and stronger than white jute. This variety astonishingly showed good sustainability in the climate of the Ganges Delta. Along with white jute, tossa jute has also been cultivated in the soil of Bengal where it is known as paat from the start of the 19th century. Currently, the Bengal region (West Bengal, India, and Bangladesh) is the largest global producer of the tossa jute variety.