STATE CROPS NEWS – Indonesia imports cotton fiber reaching an average of 700,000 tons yearly worth U.S. $ 1 billion. Because of the lifting of export subsidies of cotton fiber in developed countries, this is expected to have a negative impact on the textile industry (textiles and textile products) in Indonesia. In an effort to anticipate the possibility of scarcity in the domestic cotton fibers, then scientists attempt to use natural fibers other than cotton as raw material for textiles have sought alternatives.
Many natural plant fibers may have a chance to serve as an alternative raw material or cotton fiber supplements. Among others are namely ramie, abaca, jute, kenaf, sisal, flax, and kapok. Ramie, abaca, jute, kenaf, sisal, and cotton, has long been cultivated in Indonesia. Even though flax has not been cultivated yet been in the country, research shows that the plant can grow well.
Supporting of cultivation technology has been available for some types of plants. Obstacles that often arise in the business development of fiber plants are: i) Lack of superior varieties and plant material (seeds or seedlings) are qualified, ii) The limited area because of competition with food commodities, iii) limited funding, so farmers need subsidies (credit), iv ) Low fiber prices at farm level so that the interest of farmers less, v) Limitations of the market because of the lack of downstream industries that use, vi) Limitations of harvest and postharvest technologies, vii) a lack of supportive government policies, viii) institutional and operational mechanisms are not well coordinated.
There is a need of opportunities and challenges to look for a solution in an attempt to anticipate shortages of raw materials for industrial fiber in Indonesia.