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Kenaf Bast Fiber

Kenaf is among the most widely utilized of the bast fibers. The material is produced by the plant of the same name, which is a member of the mallow family Malvaceae and is sometimes alternatively known as Guinea hemp. Though it grows naturally across the continent of Africa, the kenaf plant was not introduced to Europe until the late 1700s, where it did not gain wide use until World War II. The increase in the popularity of the material at this time of crisis was closely associated to shortages of other, more highly valued, materials, such as jute. Best grown in a warm, moist climate, today the world’s leading producers of kenaf are China, Thailand, and India.


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