The jute is a plant-based textile fiber introduced in Brazil by the Japanese, among the main economic activities of the riverside dwellers in the Amazon region. It has a key role in the settlement of over 15.000 families working in the fields.
Jute is planted at the banks of Solimões and Amazonas rivers at the beginning of low water. They are lands where the annual cycle of high waters and dry period prevents the forest natural growing or cultivation of any permanent crop.
Burnings are not required, or any other techniques, to provide space for planting as the flooding of the river takes charge of this. The mud left after the water level comes down acts as a natural fertilizer, making unnecessary the chemical fertilizers’ use.
Four months after sown, the plant grows up to three to four metres (9,843 to 13,123 foot) and a 2 cm stem, and thus the harvest time begins. The fiber which can be used is in between the stem and the rind, and the extraction is made by the retting process. The stalks are cut off close to the ground with scythes, cleaned from the leaves, tied into bundles and submerged in the rivers for a few days. After this process, the bundles are removed from the river, the fiber is separated from the stem and put to dry in staves.
Finally, the dehydrated fiber is sold to Castanhal, that carries up the material to its factory in the State of Pará. Only organic additives and vegetable oils are used in the process of transformation of the fiber into fabric. This, associated with the plant’s natural properties, makes the jute products fully biodegradable. That is, when the jute product is no longer used and should be discarded, it rapidly disintegrated in less than a year, without leaving any residue and environmental damage.