Ethiopia Economy

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Fibre crops

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Sisal, Enset, Kenaf and Dum palm are other types of fibre crops grown in the country. Though there is the potential for a large increase in production of these fibre crops development so far made is commercially very insignificant. The combined production meet only 6% of the national demand.

Sisal accounts for 54% of this production and almost all the supply comes from the Awasa State Farm. There is a sisal variety growing wild abundantly in Metekel area (western Gojam) but, owing to gathering problems, it is little exploited.

Enset, a “false banana” plant, is another important source of fibre that provides 42% of the local supply.

It is primarily grown as a food crop on individual peasant holdings in south Shewa, and southern Sidamo (Sidama, and Gedeo Awrajas), and Kefa (Mizan Teferi and Jima Awrajas), and the fibre is actually obtained as a secondary product.

Though there is substantial supply, collection is so much of a problem that in 1975 E.C (1984) of the estimated 3000 tons, only 400 tons could be acquired for industrial use.
Kenaf, an imported fibre crop, thrives well in many State Farm Experimental Stations.

However it is only in Metekel area on Beles State Farm, that there is a commercial development, the production of which accounts for 4% of the local supply.

Ethiopia, therefore, still depends heavily on imported raw materials to operate its existing fibre factories.

Traditional suppliers of raw materials were many Far East countries but, of late, the most important sources have been Thailand and China for Kenaf, Bangladesh for jute and Tanzania for sisal.

(Source: National Atlas of Ethiopia)

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