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Jute has been grown in the Indian subcontinent for centuries. It was produced for domestic consumption in the villages of East Bengal. However, jute fibre sample to the United Kingdom was used strictly for experimentation related to mechanical processing. The breakthrough came in 1833, when jute fibre was spun mechanically in Dundee, Scotland. This was the harbinger of the world jute era. A jute industry soon mushroomed all over Western Europe with Dundee as its main centre. The first Indian jute mill was constructed in 1855 at Rishra. By the early 1900s the Calcutta Jute industry surpassed the European jute industry.

Jute traders
East India Company

The British East India Company was the British Empire Authority delegated in India from the 17th century to the middle of 20th century. The company was the first jute trader. The company traded mainly in raw jute during the 19th century. During the start of the 20th century, the company started trading raw jute with Dundee's jute Industry. This company had monopolistic access to this trade during that time. This company later was also responsible in setting up formal jute industry in India.

Dundee Jute Barons

The entrepreneurs of the Dundee jute Industry in Scotland were called the Jute Barons. They generally traded in finished products made from jute. The industry was the gateway for jute products in Europe for almost half a century, starting from the early 19th century to the middle of 19th century. The Dundee jute industry started to fall when the Jute Barons started to invest money in setting up jute mills in the Indian sub-continent, making the products cheaper by utilizing cheap labour of India.

The Marwaris

After the fall of British Empire in India during 1947, most of the Jute Barons started to evacuate India, leaving behind the industrial setup of the jute Industry. Most of the installations were taken over by the Marwaris. In India, the Marawaris are quite famous for their aggressive & successful business activities. The Marwaris had their business spread out in India as well as in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). The mills of the Marwaris used to use raw jute from East Pakistan. But, during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 had put a stop to raw jute supply from East Pakistan. But, the Indian jute industry did not die as India also started to cultivate jute locally after this incident. This historic initiative now makes India the largest producer of jute in the world.

Tata and Birla are the business giants in India, serving a billion population. But, their first business was jute Trade. Between them, the Birla family was a Marwari family along with Mittal and Bajaj. The later two families also had jute business in their business line.

Pakistani jute families

After liberation from the British, Pakistan (especially East Pakistan) had the finest jute fiber stock, but lacked a jute Industry. As the tension started to rise between Pakistan and India, the Pakistani felt the need to set up their own jute Industry. Several group of Pakistani families (mainly from West Pakistan) came into the jute business by setting up several jute mills in Narayanganj of then East Pakistan.

Among these families, the most significant ones are:

The Bawanis
The Adamjees
The Ispahanis
The Dau

Bangladeshi jute traders

Being a major player in the long history of jute trade and having relatively finer fiber, Bangladesh has always had an advantage in raw jute trading. Bangladesh is still the largest exporter of raw jute in the world. After the separation of Bangladesh (East Pakistan) from Pakistan in 1971, the jute trading was not limited to specific groups like India or Pakistan. After the separation of Bangladesh, most of the Pakistani owned jute Mills were annexed by the government of the newly formed Bangladesh.

Later, to control these jute mils in Bangladesh, the government built up Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC). No other jute mills were allowed to grow in the private sector before 1975. This incident grew many raw jute traders from different corners of Bangladesh who used to supply raw jute to BJMC owned jute mills. This group of traders are called Beparis, who buy raw jute directly from the farmers.


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