Teresa Kok: Kenaf can help meet rising demand for paper products

ROMPIN, 3 Dec 2019:

Kenaf cultivation has great potential due to the growing demand for products made from this plant, which are more environmentally friendly than plastic and polystyrene.

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok Suh Sim said among kenaf products, there is a growing demand for the paper product from the stem of the plant – which can replace the use of plastic and polystyrene.

She said the global market for paper product is also expected to grow, reaching US$342.2 billion by 2025, which will surely contribute to the development of the eco-fiber based industry including kenaf.

“The kenaf industry has immense potential and we hope many industry players will take the opportunity to invest in kenaf cultivation, especially from the private sector and state government who are expected to cooperate with the ministry.

“We need to create a production chain that covers all aspects of kenaf crop cultivation so that when the plants are fully grown there are already those who can manage the cost of processing and marketing.”

The National Kenaf and Tobacco Board Kenaf Industrial Centre (LKTN) has targeted the kenaf cultivation area to reach 10,000ha in the next five years, and Kok said the plant was proposed to be designated as a mixed crop harvest due to the short harvest period.

“I understand that the people involved in the cultivation of kenaf here are farmers, who plant them on a rotational basis with rice. We see there are still a lot of idle land here and incentives can be given to plant kenaf as its every part can be utilised.”

Kok said that in Pahang, there were 418 kenaf growers covering 635ha and LKTN had submitted an application to get more land for kenaf cultivation.

She said the development of the Kenaf In-Situ processing centre was done in collaboration with the private sector, involving a cost of RM4 million and a RM2 million pulp and paper processing facility with the capacity to process 10,000 tonnes of dried kenaf stems a year.

“PPKI is expected to produce 500 tonnes of fibre a year with a value of RM1.25 million while production of brown paper products is estimated at 1,800 tonnes worth RM3.6 million for the domestic and export markets.”

– Bernama