Tanzanian sisal back off the ropes
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CTA. 2001. Tanzanian sisal back off the ropes. Spore 96. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46377
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore96.pdf
Sisal has many uses. Future issues of Spore will perhaps contain sisal pulp. It is one of the two natural fibres sanctioned by the coffee trade for use as coffee bags (along with jute) and in the USA lift cables must by law contain a sisal core....
Sisal has many uses. Future issues of Spore will perhaps contain sisal pulp. It is one of the two natural fibres sanctioned by the coffee trade for use as coffee bags (along with jute) and in the USA lift cables must by law contain a sisal core. More common uses are in mats, carpets and ropes. Of late, competition from artificial fibres, plastics and cheap jute bags has been severe, causing a steady decline in price and output. Recently, however, Tanzania once the world s leading producer launched a set of measures to revamp the sector. After a steady decline from the record production level of 230,000 t in 1963, the country now produces only 20,000 t annually and lags behind Brazil, China and Mexico. Tanzania s production also suffered from a lack of investment in agriculture and infrastructure. All the same, the sisal sector generates US$ 17 million total earnings per year and employs 90,000 workers. This might all change. The Tanzania Sisal Board, comprising government and private sector bodies, wants to raise production to 50,000 t by 2005 by raising efficiency, tapping into niche markets and emphasising its comparative advantage of superior quality to that of other producing countries. Niche markets include increasing demand for degradable wrapping material, sisal pulp in special papers, such as ultra lightweight printing, currencies, cigarette tubes, tea bags and specialised filters, and for the larger market of strengthening recycled paper. The more often paper is recycled, the weaker it gets. To restore its strength, woodpulp is added but sisal pulp, with its higher fibre content could be good alternative if the price were more competitive and stable quality were guaranteed. In recent years the less productive public estates in Tanzania, covering 70% of the land under sisal but only producing 25% of the country s total, have all been sold to private companies. An extensive market study by HurterConsult has confirmed the possibilities for Tanzanian sisal for both niche and commodity paper markets. [caption to illustration] Raking in the profits