R. L. Pritchard & Co. Inc.

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Jute Fiber

With an annual growth and consumption of over four million tons worldwide, jute fiber is the largest agricultural commodity not traded on a formal Commodity Exchange.

Sown annually just prior to the rainy season, on the world's greatest floodplain in Bengal ( Northeastern India and Bangladesh), the crop is the farmers' greatest cash crop. No fertilizer is necessary, thanks to the spring and summer run-off from the Himalayas. Jute is one of at least three to five crops grown annually on the same land.

The plant is related to the Hollyhock or swamp reed plant. The fiber runs vertically just below the skin bark, around the pith, providing strength for the stems to reach towards the sun. The plant will grow six to twelve feet.

The entire plant is cut, bundled, submerged in water, and allowed to ret (or rot) until the leaves, bark and pith are softened. Recovery of the fiber is a manual job, best accomplished with a wooden paddle, or simply slashing handfuls of retted plants on top of the water to remove the extraneous matter.

After drying, about 3.5 lb hanks of fiber are hand twisted into bundles and are ready for market. Fiber (in small or large quantities) is traded from farmer to merchant after merchant in ever-increasing quantities for cash. The farmer decides when to sell his small holding to a merchant in the pipeline that makes up the market and keeps the product moving to balers and eventually to the mills.

During the twentieth century, jute mills have shifted location. There are no jute mills left in North America. From 1950, the last of 23 active mills in the USA closed in the year 2000.

As synthetic fibers and fabrics displaced traditional markets for jute, new markets opened up in Asia, Africa, the middle East, and India (which has become the largest consumer of jute products in the world.) China has also grown, but encourages their farmers to concentrate on cotton and food products instead of jute. China has become the largest single market for Bangladesh fiber and sacks.

The USA has developed new uses for jute. Power cable yarns, separating the wires within the cables, are used instead of paper yarns due to economics.

The Erosion Control Industry, seeking truly biodegradable fabrics for blankets find jute to be a substitute for polypropylene.

We are proud of our heritage and our ability to develop unique jute products for our customers. As the world turns "green" we are prepared to provide the service and we offer experience un-matched in this market..

R.L. Pritchard & Company

Susan Paisley
1 North Rd, PO Box 479
South Lyme, CT 06376
Phone: (203) 393-0260
Fax:      (203) 567-8101

Matthew W. Paisley
Vice President
1 North Rd, PO Box 479
South Lyme, CT 06376
Phone 203-393-0260
Fax 203 567-8101

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