June, 2015 AgricEngInt: CIGR Journal Open access at http://www.cigrjournal.org Vol. 17, No. 2 243
Jute retting process: present practice and problems in
Md. Rostom Ali1,2*, Osamu Kozan1, Anisur Rahman2,KhandakarTawfiq Islam2,
Md. Iqbal Hossain2
(1.Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University Japan;
2. Department of Farm Power and Machinery Bangladesh Agricultural University Mymesningh-2202, Bangladesh)
Abstract: Jute retting process is one of the important responsible factors for quality of jute fiber. Scarcity of jute retting water
in some areas of Bangladesh is one of the major issues. The main purpose of this study was provided information about the
status of present jute retting process as well as mentioned the advantages and disadvantages of different jute retting processes.
Data about traditional jute retting process and ribbon retting process were collected through personal interview of jute
growers. The farmers are involved in jute cultivation and majority of them use the traditional method and time consuming
approach of retting in ponds/canals. The traditional method hampers the quality of the jute fiber, fish cultivation and pollutes
the environment as it decomposes bio-mass. For minimizing the problems of jute retting process, the farmers are now more
interested on ribbon retting process. Therefore, forgetting quality jute fiber, a low cost ribbon retting technique is essential
and farmers could able to produce high quality jute fiber.
Keywords: Jute retting, water shortage, environment, ribbon retting, and quality fiber.
Citation: Md. Rostom Ali, Osamu Kozan, AnisurRahman, KhandakarTawfiq Islam, Md. IqbalHossain. 2015. Jute retting
process: present practice and problems in Bangladesh. Agric Eng Int: CIGR Journal, 17(2):243-247.
Jute (Corchoruscapsularis and Colitorius) is least
expensive and most versatile textile fibers. There is an
enormous contribution of jute in the economy of
Bangladesh. Total demand of jute goods in the
international market is 0.75 Mt (Uddin et al., 2014). In
2012, total production of jute in India and Bangladesh
were 1.91 Mt and 1.45 Mt, which are 55.23% and 41.94%
of global jute production, respectively. In the same year
Bangladesh and India exported raw jute with allied fibers
0.39 Mt and 0.18 Mt, respectively to global jute market.
In FY 2012-2013, Bangladesh and India exported jute
and allied products 72.24% and 18.96% of the total jute
goods market in the world, respectively(IJSG,
Received date: 2015-01-19 Accepted date:2015-04-19
*Corresponding author: Md. Rostom Ali, Department of Farm
Power and Machinery, Bangladesh Agricultural University,
Mymensingh-2202, Bangladesh. Email:
email@example.com Tel: +88-091-67401-6,
Ext.3211/2820 and +81-75-753-7326
2014).Fiber of jute is biodegradable and environmentally
friendly. Jute fiber is used to manufacture colorful carpets,
carpet backing, cordage, decorations, apparel fabrics,
blankets, geo- and agro-textiles, non-woven materials,
industrial fabrics, thermal insulations and numerous utility
items in a range of traditional to innovative applications
(FAO, 1998). For diversifying use of jute fiber, it is
necessary to practice suitable retting process of jute for
quality of fiber.
Jute retting is a biological process in which fibers are
extracted by decomposing the plants through the joint
action of water and aquatic microorganisms, like bacteria.
Retting process with some other factors influences the
main characteristics, which indicate the quality of fiber
like strength, color, luster and texture (IJSG, 2009). In
water scarce area of Bangladesh, retting is conducted in
small ditches, canals, and ponds etc. where water stands
for only a short period.
Around 4million farmers in Bangladesh are involved
in jute cultivation (IJSG, 2009) and majority of them use
244 March, 2015 AgricEngInt: CIGR Journal Open access at http://www.cigrjournal.org Vol. 17, No. 2
the traditional method and time consuming approach of
retting in ponds/canals. The traditional method hampers
the quality of the jute fiber and pollutes an environment as
it decomposes bio-mass. Moreover, nowadays the trend of
dryness of river and ponds/canals during short harvesting
period due to the climate change, it is difficult for the
farmers to ret jute (Husain, 2011).
Retting and extraction processes have a profound effect on
the quality of fiber produced, and on the cost of fiber
production. It affects the quality of the end products and
their competitiveness in the market. Eventually, the retting
processes pollute the environment due to biomass
decomposition. Therefore, the main objectives of the study
were investigated the present status of jute retting process
and identify advantages and disadvantages of present jute
retting process at the selected area in Bangladesh.
2 Materials and methods
2.1 Location selection
The study was conducted at Muktagachaupazila,
Mymensingh, Bangladesh, for knowing the present status
of jute retting process and its advantages and
disadvantages on the quality of fiber as well as the
environment. It is one of water scarce areas of
Bangladesh. The soil of Muktagacha is loamy in texture
with pH 6.7 and it is fertile and favorable to cultivate jute.
2.2 Design and pre-test of questionnaire
Aquestionnaire was prepared for collecting data from
farmers to know the condition of jute cultivation and
processing method at the field level. It was designed in
such a way so that it is possible to find primary data in
the field condition.
2.3 Data collection
Several field visits were performed and
communicated with agricultural field officers for
collecting data from the jute growers. Upazila agricultural
extension offices were described about the cultivation
status and condition of retting process of jute in the study
area. Data were collected from different regions of study
area through questionnaire and also visited to the regions
where jute was retted. The farmers were described the
condition of jute retting process and jute fiber quality.
The farmers of study area were mixed of literate and
illiterate. Secondary data from thesis, journal paper and
project report etc. were also used in the study.
2.4Condition of location during jute retting
The Brahmaputra river flows just beside of
Muktagachaupazila, Mymensingh, Bangladesh and most
of the water used for agricultural work come from this
river. Due to the climate change, nowadays there is no
sufficient water in Brahmaputra River so that the farmers
are unable to apply retting process in right time. For this
reason, farmers delay to harvest or after harvest farmers
stag the entire jute crop and wait until for sufficient water.
Therefore, some of lower areas like as canals, tanks,
ponds or ditches water use for retting jute which affect
the quality of the jute retting as well as jute fiber quality
because of it is done in muddy water.
After collection of data from the farmers, all data
were analyzed using Microsoft Excel 2007and discussed
critically for providing present status of jute cultivation,
retting process and quality of jute fiber for different
retting processes and its impact on environment at
3 Results and discussions
3.1 Fiber production
According to Department of Agricultural Extension
(DAE) officials in Dhaka, Bangladesh, around 0.67
million hectares of land were brought under jute
cultivation in 2012 where as about 0.62 million hectares
were cultivated in 2011. The trend of jute production in
different years is shown in Figure1 (BBS, 2008).
According to Figure1, jute cultivation was almost in
similar pattern during the mentioned period. Early years
of 2003-2004 to 2006-2007 jute productions were
reduced due to low selling price, less amount of yield,
and benefit. In recent years jute production are
competitively high but there is a massive problem in
June, 2015 Jute retting process: present practice and problemsin Bangladesh Vol. 17, No. 2 245
retting process due to water scarcity and low fiber quality.
It indicates the increasing trend of production but benefit
is very low for poor quality fiber.
3.2 Retting practice
The traditional retting method is known as stem
retting in which the complete plant stem is immersed in
sufficient water as shown in Figure 2. In general, the
practice of retting of jute plants in the jute growing
regions is to immerse the jute bundles in clear slow
flowing water in canals, tanks, ponds or ditches. The
minimum ratio of plant material to water in stagnant
water should be 1:20 (IJSG, 2009). In this process,
bundles are kept under water in 2-3 layers. In about 15-20
days, the retting is completed and then fibers are
extracted manually, washed and dried for sale (Islam and
Rahman, 2013).The traditional retting has been used for a
long time to pull out of fibers from jute.
Ribbon retting is a particular method of retting based
on a mechanical pretreatment of plant stalks that allowed
reducing the requirement of water, the length of retting
time and the level of environmental pollution to almost
one-fourth in comparison to other method that processed
the whole plant. In the production year of 2012-2013,
Figure 1 Year wise production
Figure 2 (a) Stem retting in the rice field and (b) Stem retting in the small canal with dirty water
246 March, 2015 AgricEngInt: CIGR Journal Open access at http://www.cigrjournal.org Vol. 17, No. 2
ribbon retting method was used almost 7.5%, on the other
hand in the production year of 2008-2009 it was only 1%.
The quality of the ribbon retted fibers is shown in Figure3
(b) which is better than that of traditional method and the
quality in both the processes can be easily observed from
Figure3. Comparison between two retting processes in
different production year at study area is shown in Table
1. From Table 1, it is showed that farmers are now more
interested on ribbon retting process.
3.3 Advantages of different retting processes
In the traditional process jute is retted in open natural
water bodies. There is no need to require any further
artificial activities as it is retted naturally. In this process
the labor is only required for cutting the jute stem in the
field and carrying out it from field to the ditches, ponds
and other water bodies to submerge under water. On the
other hand, ribbon retting process requires more labor for
disintegrate the fiber from the stem and forming the
process. Through the traditional process the requirement
of man-hr is comparatively low and there is no required
the skilled labor to retting the jute stem.
3.4 Disadvantages of different retting processes
3.4.1 Fiber quality
Jute fiber’s inherent characteristics of strength,
versatility, and eco-friendly can directly provide technical
and industrial requirements through its appropriate
functional end uses. Dark color fiber and black spot on
the jute fiber are responsible for the low quality.
Fiber quality might not be the same all the round as
there is no control on the natural retting process. So it is
not possible to get assurance regarding good quality fiber
through traditional method. In study area, most of the
farmers are produced yield of low quality of jute fiber,
because of bad qualities of water like: dark black colored
water, muddy water, and lower level or insufficient water.
It is found in some cases that fiber strength decreases due
Figure 3 Fiber quality of jute using (a) stem retting in the muddy water and (b) ribbon retting in the clear water
Table 1 Comparison between two retting processes at the study area in different production years
Yield in different retting processes (bale)
June, 2015 Jute retting process: present practice and problemsin Bangladesh Vol. 17, No. 2 247
to over retting or under retting as they are stacked by
bundles of 20-30 plants in each bundle.
3.4.2 Retting process time
Stem-water ratio is one of the important factors to
produce quality fiber. Due to the shortage of water during
retting period of jute, all crops cannot be stacked at a time.
As a result traditional process takes more time for retting.
In study area, farmers piled green jute for long time after
harvesting and look forward to availability of sufficient
water. Ribbon retting reduces time of traditional retting
by 4–5 days as well as reduces requirement of water
(Banik et al., 2003).
3.4.3 Impact on environment
In traditional process, a huge amount of biomass
undergoes decomposition in stagnant water causes
pollution aroundenvironment. During the process of
juteretting, different microorganisms like bacteria and
fungi are grown at green jute in the water of
pond/canal/river which is harmful for fish cultivation.
Moreover, open water retting in pond/canal/river causes
the disgusting odor and pollute the local environment.
3.4.4 Impact on fish cultivation
In the study area commercial fish cultivation is
achieved popularity in recent years, where farmers do not
allow jute retting on their ponds or ditches. Due to stem
retting of jute in pond/ditch, bad stench to the fish body
creates a great problem which reduces the price of the
3.4.5 Uncontrolled process
There is no control over volume of water, quality of
water, and temperature in traditional retting process in
ponds/canals/rivers. Under-retting gives coarse and
over-retting dazed and weak fibers. Incomplete
submergence produces croppy fibers of extremely low
value (Ahmed and Nizam, 2008).
The study has been provided information about the
present status of jute retting process and identified
problems on different jute retting process at the water
scarce area in Bangladesh. Due to the shortage of water in
harvesting period, farmers use muddy water and small
canal with insufficient water for traditional retting of
green jute. Several problems like environment pollution,
fish cultivation, bad quality fiber, and time consuming etc.
are appeared in traditional jute retting process. Therefore
the traditional retting process of jute is not feasible in the
water scarcity area. The appropriate technology like as
ribbon retting with artificial polythene tank is needed to
extend in the water scarce areas of Bangladesh.
Ahmed, Z. and S. A. Nizam.2008. Jute-microbiological and
biochemical research. Plant Tissue Culture and
Biotechnology, 18 (2): 197-220.
Banik, S., M. K. Basak, D. Paul, P. Nayak, D. Sardar, S.C. Sil, B.C.
Sanpui, and A. Ghosh. 2003. Ribbon retting of jute - a
prospective and eco-friendly method for improvement of
fibre quality. Industrial Crops and Products, 17(3):183-190.
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1997-2007, Bureau of Statistics, Statistics Division, Ministry
of Planning Bangladesh.
FAO.1998. Improved retting and extraction of jute. Terminal report;
Husain, F. 2011. Introducing new and improved jute retting
technique across in Bangladesh. 31, Katalyst.
IJSG.2009. Low cost retting of jute/kenaf/mesta for quality
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