|Webber Iii, Charles|
Submitted to: National Symposium on New Crops and New Uses
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The expansion of the commercial industry for kenaf will encompass an understanding of the diverse management systems including the production, harvesting, processing, and marketing kenaf as a fiber, feed, or seed crop, combined with directed research, focused development, and communication among diverse constituencies working closely for economic development. The einitial step in managing this system is a greater understanding of the variables within each segment of the kenaf industry. The commercial success of kenaf has important potential economic and environmental benefits in the areas of soil remediation, toxic waste cleanup, removal of oil spills on water, reduced chemical and energy use for paper production, greater recycled paper quality, reduced soil erosion due to wind and water, replacement or reduced use of fiberglass in industrial products, and the increased use of recycled plastics. The activities of private industry augmented by public supported agricultural research continue to provide a diverse range of new kenaf products that suggests a bright future for the continued expansion of kenaf as a commercial crop.
Technical Abstract: Intensive production research on kenaf, especially in the last decade, has created a strong and diverse storehouse of knowledge, understanding, and experience in kenaf production which can serve as a vast reservoir for critical, timely information for producers, processors, and consumers. A crop that sixty years ago was only entertained as a cordage crop, and then more recently as only a pulp crop, now has many diverse commercial applications for development. The purpose of this review is to provide an introduction to the history, botany, and production of kenaf as a fiber, feed, and seed crop. The history and botany of kenaf provides a framework to better understand the diverse strategies involved in these production systems. The diversity of production research provides ample opportunity to apply specific production practices not only to differing geographically areas, but also in adapting production practices to equipment availability, ,to existing cropping systems, and to unique market applications. Commercial interest in kenaf continues to grow, as does the need to provide current information on the useful application of kenaf production research.