Stemergy: Renewable Fibre Technology

FAO launches 2009 International Year of Natural Fibers

22 January 2009

ROME, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Thursday launched the International Year of Natural Fibers (IYNF) 2009 in a bid to emphasize the value of fibers while helping to sustain the incomes of farmers.

At a ceremony launching the IYNF, Hafez Ghanem, the FAO assistant director-general for social and economic development, said the production of animal and vegetable fibers was a major agricultural sector, worth about 40 billion dollars annually to the world's farmers.

Fibers, Ghanem noted, could in some cases account for up to 50 percent of a developing country's exports.

"Farmers and processors in these countries depend on proceeds from the sales and exports of these natural fibers for their income and food security," Ghanem said

Every year, about 30 million tons of natural fibers are harvested from animals and plants around the globe from China (cotton, wool, hemp, sisal, ramie silk etc) to the Andes (Alpaca). The biggest crop is cotton, with an annual production of about 25 million tons. There is about 2.2 million tons of wool produced every year in almost 100 countries, with Australia accounting for roughly a quarter of the production.

In volume terms, jute, which comes from the bast, or skin, of Corchorus plants, is the world's second biggest fiber crop (2.3 to 2.8 million tons) but is worth far less than wool in terms of cash. The main producers of jute are India and Bangladesh.

The main objective of the IYNF is to raise the profile of fibers and to emphasize their value to consumers while helping to sustain the incomes of the farmers.

Activities of the IYNF will include conferences, exhibitions, and fashion shows in many countries, including the International Mohair Summit in South Africa and the Creative Fiber Festival in South Caterbury, New Zealand.


Editor: Xiong Tong

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Stemergy bio-fiber is focused on producing and supplying renewable bio-fibres - derived from annual stem fiber plants such as flax and hemp - to the expanding global bio-fiber marketplace.