The jute plant, widely called Ewedu in Nigeria, is mostly cultivated in Asia, the Middle East, and many parts of Africa. India is the world’s largest producer of Jute, while Bangladesh is the largest cultivator of Jute.
In Nigeria, Jute is eaten, rather than used in the production of jute bags which have a far higher value when sold. But irrespective, jute farmers and traders in Nigeria who sell jute for human consumption still generate good incomes.
Below is a step by step guide on how to start;
Jute grows best in well-drained loamy soil with plenty of organic matter and moderate rainfall. To allow the plant roots to penetrate freely and for optimal development and productivity, the land should also be cleared and tilled.
Jute has the advantage of being able to be planted at any time of the year, and the planting method is quite simple. Planting the seeds can be done in a variety of ways. For example, ridges can be constructed in the soil, and then the seeds placed with suitable spacing between them. Water the seeds twice a day to ensure proper growth. The maturation of jute takes only a few weeks.
The jute plant is allergic to disease and pest infestations. Organic insecticides can be used to manage pests like beetles, which attack the plant’s leaves and stem, as well as diseases like leaf spots.
The plant is ready for harvesting within five weeks, and this can be done by cutting the stem or uprooting the entire plant. Jute can continue to produce severally but stops when there are no more leaves on it.
Jute is naturally a perishable plant and needs to be used immediately. It can be dried and crushed if it needs to be preserved. It can also be kept in its natural state for longer by sprinkling water over it or storing it in a chilly place to avoid dehydration.
The jute market is one that always has a ready demand ahead of supply; therefore sales won’t be difficult, but with the right approach a vendor can fully maximize profits.
There are several business opportunities in jute farming;
– Food Production
The mature leaves can be prepared into soups, which are ideally served with starchy molded foods, such as garri or wheat. This is a popular Nigerian dish that can be found in many eateries. Young leaves can be used in salads, while larger leaves can be used in cooking.
– Medicine Production
Jute leaves are good sources of beta-carotene, which is a plant pigment that converts into vitamin A in the human body. It promotes good vision, stronger immunity, and healthier skin. It is well utilized in medicines in most parts of Africa and the Middle East.
– Textile Production
Jute is a source of lignin, a crucial element in the textile industry.
– Jute Bag Production
Fibers of Jute are used in the production of jute bags, which are used to bag agricultural products being shipped all over the world.