Kenaf – A 21st century crop

Kenaf – A 21st century crop

Posted on 21. Mar, 2010 by in crop

Kenaf, should be the fibre crop of the 21st century, and hopefully explode into the market place for industrial products made from sustainable natural materials. Several multinational companies already use kenaf fibre in small, but growing quantities, in newly-marketed green products such as the Toyota Lexus and NEC mobile phones to replace environmentally-damaging materials.

Crucially, the green tag attached to kenaf is gaining more importance as people, companies and governments realize that the kenaf crop removes substantial amounts of CO2 and NO2 from the atmosphere and three to five times faster than forests with its deep roots improving the soil. Trees take many years to reach a harvestable size, however kenaf grown as an annual crop will reach a mature size in just 120 to 150 days after the seeds are sown, producing the largest biomass of any agricultural crop – far more than trees.

It can clean the environment efficiently and in some Japanese cities, kenaf is planted by the Government to improve the air quality. Kenaf will also greatly reduce our reliance on wood pulp and petroleum-based products. From construction board and concrete to plastic composites for mobile phones, from paper and light-weight, high-strength surfaces in aircraft to non woven industrial fabrics, from newspaper to absorbents for the oil industry. Commerce is waiting for the sustainable kenaf fibre in large quantities.

The kenaf plant is composed of multiple useful components (e.g. stalks, leaves, and seeds) and within each of these plant components there are various usable portions (e.g. fibres and fibre strands, proteins, oils, and allelopathic chemicals). What can’t be harvested can be used as Biomass fuel and fertilizer

Exciting New Technologies

In the past kenaf fibre production has been limited by the manual processing required to extract the fibres once the kenaf crop has been grown and harvested and the non-sustainable method of retting the fibres in rivers. New methods are now becoming available to process kenaf in volume providing a distinct advantage over existing processes, taking them to a new economical viability.

Green Planets and our partners intention is not to compete with other existing kenaf producers or processors, but to enlarge the industry and provide new opportunities for kenaf fibres. In most of the countries chosen, there are existing kenaf customers, we aim to enhance those relationships and the export routes for kenaf to developed nations. While at the same time create locally-owned hubs of agricultural excellence, kenaf business and community social support for the growers.

To find out more and how you can assist us, please contact us at

Kenaf is a crop of importance – to a world in need of it

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4 Responses to “Kenaf – A 21st century crop”

  1. John Loftus

    04. Jun, 2010

    Wonderful plant….but is it fit for human consumption or only as animal fodder? I see where India and Ghana use it as an herb or spice, but can you feed the leaves to kids? That is that is being proposed to Haiti, and I am afraid it could become another Irish Famine.

    GP:Hi John, basically is it fit for Human Consumption?

    Green Planet’s Plant Scientist (PS) colleague commented

    PS: There has been a few people who say it can be eaten, just pull the young leaves off – but I haven’t seen any discussion on whether it contains any allergens or if too much is an issue.

    I have seen some interest in using it as a sprout, and it works particularly well – I have a variety that makes perfect sprouts. I am not a food scientist, but expect it may only be valuable as roughage

    Our (GP) Comments

    GP: Kenaf seeds yield a vegetable oil that is edible with no toxins and which is high in omega polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) which are now known to help in keeping humans healthy.

    PS: Yes, seed may be OK even good, but extracting the oil is difficult. I know the seed does wonders for cattle as a protein supplement – but it lacks one amino acid

    GP: Where kenaf wins hands down is as a building material, as you can make boarding material, poles , ropes, and kenaf-crete. Plus horticultural products and animal feed.

    The down side is that without equipment being developed by our Colleague, extraction is labour intensive and very wasteful of water.

    Hope this helps, John?


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