What is Kenaf

Hibiscus cannabinus

Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) is a warm season, short-day, annual herbaceous plant originated from west Africa which has been cultivated since around 4000 B.C. Kenaf belongs to the Malvaceae, a family notable for both its economic and horticultural importance. In different parts of the world, kenaf has many other names such as mesta (India, Bengal), stockroot (south Africa), Java jute (Indonesia), and ambari (Taiwan), etc. Kenaf has a high growth rate, rising to heights of 12-18 feet in about 4-5 month. Its yield of 6-10 tons (new varieties may reach 12 ton) of dry weight per acre per year are generally 3-5 times greater than the yield for Southern pine trees which can take from 7 years to reach harvestable size. 

The fibers from kenaf can be classified into bast fibers which is about 35% the stalk dry weight and core fibers which comprises about 65% of the stalk dry weight. Kenaf fibers can be used in making many agricultural and industrial applications like paper pulp, thermoplastic, composite, non-woven, geotextile, pot mix, agricultural mulch and film, fabrics, industrial absorbent, etc. All these applications contribute to environmental protection.