Table of Contents

Find separate “Cotton” and “Bamboo” chapters.

 

1. Overview

There are a number of different fibres found in plants:

  • Bast fibres e.g. flax, hemp, jute and kenaf
  • Leaf fibres e.g. sisal, palm
  • Seed fibres e.g. cotton, capok
  • Fruit fibres - coconut
  • Wood fibres e.g. pinewood, Baobab bark

This chapter will look at some fibre plants.

Source: “Classification and essential parts of fibre crops”, a brochure available under “Resource centre” at www.daff.gov.za.  

 

2. International business environment

  • Until relatively recently, production of clothes, cloths, carpets, cordage, paper and ships' sails, was entirely based on natural fibres. With the development of synthetic fibres derived from petroleum, the use of natural fibres began to decline.
  • For many developing countries natural fibres are of major economic importance, including cotton in parts of West Africa, jute in Bangladesh and sisal in Tanzania. Across the developing world, producers and processors of natural fibres face the challenge of developing and maintaining markets in which they can compete effectively with synthetics.
  • Concerns over the environmental cost of synthetic fibre production have created a renewed interest in crop (and animal) fibres.
Source: www.new-ag.info/09/03/focuson.php

 

3. Local business environment

  • Fibre plants grow in most ecosystems of South Africa – the subtropical low lying coastal plains, the warm bushveld and arid half desert areas, while unique species are adapted to the wetlands and poorly drained areas.
  • To develop the potential of indigenous plants for fibre production, a close working and financial relationship between the new farmer, the fibre industry and agricultural scientist must be developed. The establishment of an agro-fibre-industry that can independently manage its affairs and solve its own problems will be the ideal.
Source: ARC-IC 

 

4. Bamboo

See separate chapter.

 

5. Baobab

The stringy inner bark yields a particularly strong and durable fibre that provides things such as rope, thread, strings for musical instruments, and a paperstock tough enough for bank notes.

Source: “Classification and essential parts of fibre crops”, a brochure available under “Resource centre” at www.daff.gov.za.  

 

6. Coconut

Coconut fibre is the only fruit fibre usable in the textile industry. The coconut coir machine automatically beats and splits the coconut husk into fine coconut fibre and cocopeat. Coir is obtained by retting for up to 10 months in water followed by sun-drying.

Source: “Classification and essential parts of fibre crops”, a brochure available under “Resource centre” at www.daff.gov.za.