ICECRD NEWS – The world’s demand for natural fiber from fiber plants, such as kenaf, is very high, currently the supply of kenaf fiber only meets 60% of the demand. The problem in developing kenaf in Indonesia to support industries that use kenaf fiber is the existing marketing system. Currently the existing marketing system for kenaf fiber is a monopoly on the supply of kenaf fiber from an investor to the main user.
Mardjani, a fiber plant researcher at the Center for Sweeteners and Fibers, Plantation Research Center stated this in a conversation with Perkebunannews.com. Even though this fiber plant is planted on land where other plants cannot be productive, so the development is still extensive,” he said.
Kenaf cultivation in Indonesia, 99% is in Lamongan, East Java. Every year the planting area is between 10,000-20,000 ha. The manager is PT Global Agrotek Nusantara (GAN) whose kenaf fiber is sold to PT Toyota Boshoku Indonesia. Currently, farmers produce fiber, all of which is accommodated by PT GAN. This company fosters farmers by providing seed loans, tillage, tillage and maintenance costs. Loan repayments are made after harvest by deducting from the purchase price.
Annual production is around 3,000-4,000 tons of fiber, while the need is 7,000 tons, so imports range from 3,000-4,000 tons. Kenaf fiber imports are obtained from Vietnam, India and Bangladesh. Kenaf plantation area in Vietnam is the same as Indonesia, Bangladesh is quite wide and India is the widest at almost 800,000 ha.
Kenaf is developed in bonoworo land (flooded land) which is always flooded during the rainy season. This land is decreasing, so they have to switch to other marginal lands such as dry, acid, peat and tidal land. Currently, Balittas has produced kenaf varieties for this type of land. The superior varieties of kenaf that have been produced by Balittas are KR 11 for bonorowo land; KR 14 and KR 15 for red yellow podzolic land (PMK); and KR 9 and KR 12 for dry land. These varieties can be planted at any time because they are less affected by photoperiodicity.
The main problem when planted outside of Bonorowo is that the production costs increase because the retting costs increase. Retting is the process of soaking, extracting until it becomes fiber at a cost of 60% of the total production cost. To overcome this, Balittas is developing dew retting, namely retting by using the services of micro-organisms to decompose pectin and pentosan which is effective, the application uses only a small amount of water, so that the cost of the fibering process can be saved.
The prospect of using kenaf in the world is quite good, as evidenced by the demand for seed exports to Balit. However, Balittas only produces source seeds and does not produce spread seeds, so the demand for export seeds cannot be met. In the current development of kenaf, the needs of farmers’ spread seeds are met by PT GAN, which already has a license agreement with Balittas to breed superior seeds of the KR-15 variety.
The current marketing system for kenaf fiber is a single market for kenaf fiber users, namely PT Toyota Boshoku and a fiber supplier, namely PT GAN which is bound in a cooperation agreement. PT Toyota Boshoku can only buy kenaf fiber and cannot receive it from other parties. Toyota Boshoku processes kenaf fiber into door trim, seat frames, seats, package trays and carpets. Kenaf is used because it is strong and light so that the weight of the vehicle is reduced and it is more fuel efficient.
Besides being used in the automotive industry, the kenaf plant is also used for other industries, for example, investors from Malaysia and South Korea are interested in processing the seeds into oil. The high content of linoleic and linolenic acid is good for nutrition and cosmetics, so that the skin moisture is maintained and not slippery. In addition, investors from Japan are trying to use kenaf plant biomass for energy sources by utilizing nanotechnology. The remaining biomass of kenaf fiber, namely kenaf core, can be used for G2 bioethanol tires, paper, paper and other materials that require less cellulose.
For the marketing of kenaf commodities, especially kenaf fiber and fiber plant biomass, it is necessary to improve the marketing system, so that there is a development of commodities that can meet the needs of industries that use kenaf fiber and biomass, both domestically and abroad. (Anjas)