Kenaf the multifunctional crop

Kenaf the multifunctional crop

Kenaf is a jute-like plant in the hibiscus family (Hibiscus Cannabinus) and has many multipurpose uses from seed to stem. Hibiscus cannabinus is probably native to South Asia, although its exact natural origin is unknown. However, based on the global Kenaf producers, the countries that produce Kenaf mostly come from the East Asia region. Its stem can be processed into pith and fiber. These cores and fibers are primarily used by many industries and applications as semi-finished materials. Kenaf plants are known to have many multipurpose uses. Its stem can be processed into products such as decorticated fiber, pellet core, mesh core, short fiber, long fiber, water-melted fiber to name a few. In the processes of wetting, the strong strands of the bark are separated from the stem by a natural bacterial process, either by rotting the dew or by rotting in the water. These semi-finished materials can then be applied as raw materials in sectors such as furniture, construction and housing, composite materials, automotive, aerospace and many others.

Kenaf fibers also have many advantages over synthetic fibers. Compared to synthetic fibers, Kenaf requires much less energy. Natural fibers are produced by solar energy, while carbon fibers require a lot of energy to produce, as their processing temperatures can exceed 1200°C and 3000°C, respectively. Kenaf is an annual plant that usually takes 4 months to develop. After this period, the plant is usually ready for harvest. After harvest, post-harvest activities will include opening processes. Wetting is the process of removing unwanted bark material from Kenaf strands. The wetting process usually involves moisture with bacteria or chemicals. Other post-harvest activities are the decorating process. The process of deboning is the process of removing the pith from the rind.

Kenaf can be planted year-round. However, kenaf is best harvested during the dry season. To obtain optimum fiber quality, the appropriate time to harvest would be after 120 days of growth. Harvesting processes involve cutting the stem either manually or mechanically and then drying it in the field. After drying, the stem is cut and baled. The harvesting equipment used for Kenaf depends a lot on the location, the size of the farm and also the final product. Typically, farms with a size of 3 to 5 hectares usually use manual harvesting. In mechanical harvesting, several methods are commonly used; among them are the helicopter forage harvester and the modified sugar cane harvester.

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