Bangladesh: 24-hour day trip to Barisal, Part 3

After reaching the bank on the other side of Padma River, our journey to Barisal still required about 3 hours more by car. However, I was really busy sightseeing. Along the way, I saw with my own eyes the Bangladesh jute industry at work.

Bangladesh is the top supplier of jute in the world. Jute (saluyot, in Philippines) is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, which was once classified with the family Tiliaceae, more recently with Malvaceae, and has now been reclassified as belonging to the family Sparrmanniaceae. "Jute" is name of the plant or fiber that is used to make burlap, Hessian or gunny cloth.

First the people harvest the leaves of the plant for food. Then, they let the plant grow taller to get longer fiber. Once it reached the optimum height, they cut the stalks off from the bottom. They let these stalks rot in water for about 2 weeks to make the fibers soft and easy to separate. Next, they pound the the stalks to separate the bark/rind from the fibers. Then they dry the fibers under the sun. When the fibers are collected and are drying in the sun, the core of the stalk is dried for firewood. Nothing is wasted. This plant is like the coconut. Every part of it is useful.

With the Western world shunning the use of the unfriendly plastic bags, the need for environmentally friendly, bio-degradable, and cheapest natural fiber for the production of burlaps and bags are on the rise, which is good for the economy.

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In the background, is the jute plant and the foreground are the cores of the stalks that will be used for firewood.

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Leaving the stalks in water to rot.

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Ladies separating the bark from the core. The bark is the jute fiber. They are doing this manually by the very narrow sidewalk of the main road. This would be the only truly dry spot.

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Fibers drying.

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More ladies working.

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Every available space is used for drying.

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Some are ready for manufacturing.

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Tying the jutes for processing.

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Getting ready for transfer to the factories.

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The dried fibers are on the way.

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I bought a jute carpet/rug on my first visit in 2008 and I love it. I didn't get anything this visit.

As you may have guessed by the inferior qualities of the images here, these are all taken as we were traversing the road to Barisal. While I was snapping, my in-laws were telling me what's happening with every shot I was taking. I was very fortunate to see it, it was something I never expected to experience.



  1. Talk about totally educational, Maria. I had no clue this is the process! And the photos are NOT "inferior" at all.

  2. Fascinating post! So much hard labor went into this, and beautiful photos too!

  3. Didn't know that Saluyot plant can use as fiber for bags, rags, mats and carpet... This is a nice share.

  4. Great shots and very informative too. I enjoyed this post very much.

  5. Quite the process!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  6. What a cool post, loved learning about the jute. The photos are awesome. Have a happy day and week ahead!

  7. Very informative! Great captures showing the process.

  8. step by step pictures! I like jute products.

  9. this is totally interesting! i didn't know jute is made from saluyot fiber. wow! we have jute manufacturers in Bicol but i never saw how it is processed--i only see the finished product. these are fantastic photos--ang galing, kahit drive by. well done, my friend.

  10. Extremely interesting to see. Great shots!

  11. This post is wonderful, I love every photo!

  12. How very interesting. Every photo is so gorgeous. I love them all x

  13. Just a great, fantastic post/reportage. Amazing pictures too. Thanks for sharing, I always love your posts. :)

    PS: Thanks for your nice comment on my Greek post. The Photo of the header was taken by Saffron Blaze. It's an overview of Lindos, a town and a former municipality on the island of Rhodes, in the Dodecanese, Greece. It is about 50 km south of the town of Rhodes and its fine beaches make it a popular tourist and holiday destination.

  14. Wow, I didn't know that saluyot is jute in english hahaha, it's nice to see how jute is made. I didn't know that it has long stalks hmmm. At first I thought the first photo is haystacks hehehe. The photos are nice and very informative. Thanks for sharing


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