June 3, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

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The rise of the hemp industry in India seems to be an alternative to plastic in the world

Experts say that the natural fiber of hemp, which is the world’s leading manufacturer, is being caught globally and will create significant demand as a durable alternative to plastics.

They believe the stock market alone could add 2.5 billion euros ($ 3 billion) by 2024.

But Jute Nor appeared as the protagonist in the clothing line of the best Indian stylists like Ashish Soni and Pawan Aswani, in the luxury shops of brands like Christian Dior and at the wedding of Megan Markle and the prince. . Enrique, where guests were presented with handbags stamped with the initials H&M.

Hemp is, in fact, increasingly fashionable.

Most of the world’s hemp crops are found in West Bengal (East India) and Bangladesh, where they benefit from humid climates.

Jute plant is all-encompassing: the outer layer produces fiber, the inner stem is used to make paper, while the leaves are edible.

Ecological plant

Hemp is appreciated by ecologists because its crops recycle carbon.

“One hectare of jute crops absorbs 15 tonnes of carbon dioxide per season and releases 11 tonnes of oxygen, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Swati Singh Ash, a New Delhi-based economist.

The world’s largest natural fiber cotton before hemp requires twice as much arable land and more water and chemicals.

The British East India Company was responsible for the discovery and exploitation of hemp fiber in India in the 18th century and then introduced it successfully in Europe from the 1860s, with sacks for carrying food grains.

In the hope of taking advantage of the dissatisfaction with plastics, India today seeks to promote jute as the textile of the future while respecting the environment.

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According to a recent research and market report, the global jute bag market will reach $ 1.7 billion by 2020 and $ 3 billion by 2024 because consumers will abandon disposable plastics.

Replace the production chain

The Government of India should now pack all food grains and 20% sugar in jute bags.

But to meet the global demand for diversified jute-based products, Indian experts say the aging industry needs to shift the entire production chain on a large scale.

It is about modernizing agricultural practices, improving employee skills and introducing new products, evaluates Kauranga Kar, director of the Central Research Institute for Jute and Joint Fiber. “This is a major issue that worries us,” he admits.

“Our scientists have developed many varieties that yield more than 40 quintals per hectare, but the average (current) yield is 24-25 quintals per hectare,” he laments.

However, “Hemp has a bright future, so the government should focus on this sector,” said Supriya Das, president of Magna Jute Mills, one of the 70 factories in West Bengal.

Hundreds of workers work tirelessly every eight hours on old machines that emerged from the Industrial Revolution.

“Jute has enormous potential in the international market,” says the head of the factory, but warns: “The industry would not be possible without the introduction of value-added products.”