PRODUCTION IN KENYA Kenya is ranked third largest producer after Brazil and China. The main export markets include China, Spain, Morocco, Portugal and Saudi Arabia. Over 80% of the sisal fibre produced in Kenya is exported while the remaining 20% produced by smallholders is processed in cordage and cottage industries to make products for both local and export market.
KENYA SISAL BOARDKenya Sisal Board is a statutory organization of thegovernment, established under the Sisal Industry Act, CAP 341in 1946. Its main purpose is to promote the welfare of the sisalindustry as provided for in the Act.
AGAVE SISALANAThis class of sisal has been carefully been selected for itsproperties of hardiness, being well adapted and resistant todiseases and water logging.
ECOLOGICAL REQUIREMENTS a) Altitude Sisal grows best in areas ranging from sea level to 1800m above sea level. b) Temperature Sisal grows under diverse temperatures ranging from the hot humid coastal regions to the cooler and drier areas in the hinterland i.e. between 16 oC and 27 oC. c) Rainfall Sisal is a drought tolerant plant and requires 500 - 1200mm of rainfall, well distributed throughout the year, and preferably in a bi-modal pattern. d) Soils Sisal does well in a wide range of soils; from the black cotton soils, red clay soils, to the sandy loams. The soils should be deep, free draining, and of PH range 5.0 - 8.0 (optimum 6.2).
PROCESSING• Decortication or Fibre extraction• Drying- After decortication the fibre is taken to the drying ground where it is spread over wires.• Brushing Before baling sisal must be brushed to remove pieces which adhere after decortication and drying. Brushing also frees individual fibers from each other and removes the short fibres, which are called tow.• Grading is done for marketing purposes as different grades attract different prices.• Baling and packing are aimed at achieving the lowest possible volume, in order to realize savings on freight charges, while facilitating ease of handling. Sisal fibre is therefore baled under great pressure to achieve high density.
USES OF SISAL IN TODAYS INDUSTRIES• Sisal Ropes• Sisal carpets and rugs• Sisal gloves and bathroom accessories• Brushes used in machinery• Construction and gypsum for interiors• Sisal pulp• Furniture