The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Moor Plantation, Ibadan, has again made another history in its primary mandate of “Research into genetic improvement of kenaf and jute; Research into efficient use and management of soil resources for increased and sustainable agricultural productivity” and others as the institute unveils its ongoing research on the indigenous materials which can be used for the production of Plaster of Paris, popularly known as POP.
During a tour to one of the research facilities of the institute, the Executive Director of IAR&T, Prof. Veronica Obatolu, disclosed to CEOAFRICA on Wednesday that the institute is undergoing a research into kenaf fibre for the production of POP ceiling as an alternative to the Siza fibre being used for the production.
Obatolu noted that the institute is at the final stage of the research towards ensuring the possibility of using the locally produced kenaf fiber to fortify POP ceilings instead of the imported siza fibre.
“We have made giant stride towards using our kenaf fiber to replace the siza fibre that is used in making POP.
“The research is focused on the genetic improvement of kenaf in order for it to be a viable alternative.
“Kenaf fibre is locally grown as opposed to the Siza fibre which is imported, thus more expensive.”
The Director further explained that the Siza fibre takes about two years to mature while kenaf fibre takes 8 to 10weeks to be ready for use.
“The fact that kenaf fibre is a locally made fibre means that the cost of importing fibre will be elimated. As a result of this, Nigeria will be exporter of kenaf fibre,” she added.
The first female Executive Director of IAR&T further revealed that the research is important because some local farmers are ready to go into the kenaf farming but are scared that they might not have customers to buy the product from them since many people are not aware of its usage.
Obatolu used the opportunity to appeal to the Federal Government to support the institute in procuring a machine that would be used in refining the local made kenaf fibre.
Prof. Veronica assured Nigerians that the research findings would begin to yield result in the next six months.
Dr. Adetumbi Adedayo, the Head of Research at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, also disclosed to CEOAFRICA that the concept of the research is to reduce the import of siza fibre.
He noted that the locally harnessed kenaf fibre will be much cheaper than the foreign siza fibre which is quite expensive.
“The concept is that the imported sizer is expensive, the kenaf is local, and can be used on the POP that we are fond of using now.
“Most of the houses are replacing normal asbestos with POP. So we are now trying to see how we can use the kenaf fiber to fortify the POP ceiling instead of the imported sizer fiber,” he stated.
He further noted that the production costs for the locally made POP would be unveiled at the end of the research.
According to the Head of Kenaf and Jute Improvement Programme, IAR&T, Dr. Tayo Adeniyan asserted that Kenaf can be used for other purposes apart from the fortification of POP ceiling.
He noted that kenaf, among other purposes, can be used for paper production and making of biodegradable packaging materials.
He added that the powder of Kenaf core, can also be used to clean up oil spillages, both onshore and in water.
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