The Discover Natural Fibres Initiative Meeting was conducted on January 13th. Dr Maryam Naebe, Senior Research Fellow, Deakin University, Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM), Australia, was recognized as the winner of the 2021 DNFI Innovation in Natural Fibres Award. She and her team created a special light-weight nonwoven textile insulator using blended waste and virgin wool fibres. The new material meets sound and thermal absorption requirements for specific automotive applications.
The Chair Elke Hortmeyer, Bremen Cotton Exchange, congratulated Dr Naebe on her research and for winning the 2021 DNFI Award. Dr Naebe’s nomination had been selected to win the Award because of the quality of the research and the extraordinary opportunities for commercial application and expanded demand for wool.
Make the Label Count Initiative
The Make the Label Count initiative was also presented during the meeting (see also Bremen Cotton Report 43-44/2021). The Make the Label Count campaign is an effort to raise awareness within the European Commission and members of the European Parliament about the deficiencies in the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI) and the need for a more wholistic appraisal of the environmental and social impacts of fiber production. The European Commission is moving forward with a proposal to require that all textile products sold in the EU carry Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) labels. The PEF labels for fibers would be based, amongst others, on the Higg MSI which is highly biased in favor of polyester and other synthetics.
More information: www.makethelabelcount.org.
Reports About Supply and Use of Natural Fibres in 2021 and Outlook for 2022
During the meeting, representatives of various natural fibres reported current facts and figures.
World production of natural fibres dropped from 33.6 million tonnes in 2019 to 31.4 million tonnes in 2020. Some of the decline was related to disruptions to the world economy caused by Covid, but the larger factor underlying the reduction in production was poor weather. Preliminary data indicate that production of natural fibres recovered fully in 2021, and given the current level of prices which are above average for many fibres, natural fibre production could exceed 35 million tonnes in 2022. The data was presented by Terry Townsend.
Jute, Abaca, Coir, Kenaf and Sisal
According to El Mamoun Amrouk, Economist, Trade and Markets Division, FAO, World production of jute, abaca, coir, kenaf and sisal (JACKS) fibres trended slightly upwards during the last decade, from 4.8 million tonnes in 2010 to 5.1 million tonnes in 2019. There was a steep decline in the production of jute, kenaf and allied fibres in 2020 due to particularly adverse weather in Bangladesh and India caused by Cyclone Amphan and the fallout from the spread of Covid-19. However, production is rebounding, and statistics are expected to show that total JACKS fibre production recovered in 2021.
According to Thomas Bressler, Wilhelm G. Clasen (WGC), production of jute in Bangladesh recovered to 1.5 million tonnes in 2021, up from the typhoon-reduced level of 900,000 tonnes in 2020. However, prices remained high in 2021 as the industry rebuilt stocks, and small and medium-sized jute spinning mills were having to curtail production as a result.
Exports of sisal from Kenya, Tanzania and Brazil were from 10 percent to 30 percent higher in 2021 than in 2020, reported Oliver Reimer-Wollenweber, Wilhelm G. Clasen (WGC). Imports by China account for about two-thirds of Brazilian sisal exports and 40 percent to 50 percent of exports from Tanzania, while exports from Kenya go predominantly to West Africa and the Middle East for use in construction material.
Cotton and Wool
The Cotlook A index rose dramatically during 2020/21 and is continuing higher during 2021/22 to a level not seen in over 10 years, said Matthew Looney, International Cotton Advisory Committee. World cotton consumption in 2021/22 is estimated at 25.63 million tonnes, and production is estimated at 26.23 million tonnes.
Dalena White, IWTO, reported that the number of sheep raised primarily for fleece have recovered to about 1.2 billion, and additional sheep are raised primarily for meat.
Global wool production has been declining, and world production is currently at the lowest level in at least 60 years. Wool prices increased to record levels during 2018, but prices have been extremely volatile since the start of the Covid pandemic, causing havoc in the wool pipeline. Wool’s share of the global textile fibre market remains around one percent.
Fique and Alpaca
According to Cristian Sieger, Compañia de Empaques, Fique was grown on 21,000 hectares in Colombia, resulting in about 25,000 tonnes of long fibre production. About 2,500 tonnes are also produced in Equador each year. The major use of fique long fibres is for making coffee sacks in Colombia. Short fibres and tow are used in technical textile applications, bagasse, and juice.
Exports of Peruvian alpaca knitwear were valued at $11 million in 2020, and exports of fibre were valued at $38 million, reported Jaanus Vosu. Nearly half of fibre exports from Peru go to China and most of the rest goes to Italy.
Ms. Hortmeyer, Bremen Cotton Exchange, and Ms. White, International Wool Trade Organization (IWTO), were confirmed unanimously as Chair and Vice Chair of DNFI for the next period.
The 14th annual meeting of the DNFI will take place in June on the occasion of Heimtextil in Frankfurt.