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Indian labourers work on machines inside a jute mill at Jagatdal some... News PhotoAgriculture,Farm Worker,Finance,Horizontal,India,Jute,Kolkata,Machinery,Mill,WorkingPhotographer Collection: AFP 2012 AFPIndian labourers work on machines inside a jute mill at Jagatdal some 75kms north of Kolkata on May 14, 2012. Jute is a crop which relies heavily on rainfall and cultivation is chiefly concentrated in South Asia, it is the cheapest vegetable fibre procured from the bast or skin of the plant's stem and the second most important vegetable fibre after cotton, in terms of usage, global consumption, production, and availability. It has high tensile strength, low extensibility, and ensures better breathability of fabrics. Jute fibre is 100% bio-degradable and recyclable and thus environmentally friendly. The British East India Company was the first jute trader in South Asia and established links with European countries notably Dundee in Scotland which gave rise to 'The Jute Barons' who eventually set up mills on the outskirts of Kolkata. In the 21st century jute has a variety of uses such as grain bags, home textiles, floor coverings and even footwear in the form of espadrilles. AFP PHOTO/ Dibyangshu SARKAR (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/GettyImages)