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Hemp fibre has strength and durability but lacks flexibility and fineness. Hemp is produced for fibre as well as for seed. The fibre is used in the manufacture of sacking, cordage, rope and coarse cloth. Seed is used for extracting oil, which in turn is used for the manufacture of paints and varnishes.
Conditions of growth. The plant is usually 1 .5 to 4.5 meters high. The conditions of growth are the same like flax. It requires moderate rainfall, well distributed over growing period of 110 days. warm conditions and high humidity. The soil should be well prepared and fertilized. The seeds are sown broadcast. The plants after cutting are kept for 7 to 21 days in the water for retting purposes. After retting they are dried and fibre is separated by scutching. Naturally, the fibre production requires larger supply of labour.
The important producing countries are Russia, India, Yugoslavia. Romania. Hungary, Poland, Italy and Spain. U.S.S.R. produced about 26 percent or world's output of 230 thousand metric tonnes in 1987-88. The growing areas are Kursk, Ukraine and Mordovia. Italy produces best quality hemp in the alluvial soil of the Po Basin and the volcanic soil in the south. In U.S.A. the producing areas are in Ohio, Wisconsin and Kentucky. India produces hemp in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharasthra. India is the second largest producer of hemp in the world. Her production was 56 thousand metric tons against world output of 220 thousand metric tons in 1987-88. Importing countries are the U.K.. Belgium, Italy. France. West Germany and Denmark.
Manila hemp or abaca. This fibre is obtained from the leaves of a banana-like plant, which is tall, and of 6-8 meters height. The plant for its growth requires high temperature of about 25°C and heavy rainfall of over 200 cm per year. A rich well-drained and loamy soil is best suited for the growth of the plant. A large supply of cheap labour is essential for the cultivation of the plant and preparation of fibre from the leaves.
South-eastern part of the Philippine island produces 92 per cent of world's product. During 1987-88 Philippines produced 110 thousand metric tons of Abaca against world output of 125 thousand metric tons. She had 175 thousand hectares of land under Abaca in 1987-88 against the world total of 190 thousand hectares.
The fibre is demanded for the manufacturing of marine ropes, matting twine, hats and textiles. The fibre has strength and durability. The biggest buyer is the U.S.A.
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