An estimated 60 million households were engaged in natural fibre production during 2016, including some 45 million households producing cotton, 6 million producing jute, kenaf and allied fibres, about 5 million wool producers, 1 million involved in production of coir, and another one million involved in other natural fibres, such as abaca, hemp, sisal and silk. When family labour, hired workers and employees in associated service industries such as transportation and storage are considered, total employment in the agricultural segments of natural fibre value chains probably reaches about 200 million people per year, or between 2% and 3% of the world’s population. (all estimates are rounded).
World production of natural fibres rose from 28 million metric tons to an estimated 30 million in 2016. The value of production at the farm level was approximately $50 billion during 2016. Higher prices for cotton and jute during 2015 led to increased production of both in 2016. Cotton production rose to 23 million tons, jute reached 3 million tons, wool and coir production are each estimated at approximately 1 million tons, and all other natural fibres together amounted to about 2 million tons in 2016.
World production of all fibres is estimated to have exceeded 100 million metric tons for the first time in 2016, a milestone for mankind and fibre industries. Natural fibres accounted for 30% of the total and manmade fibres the balance.
In 2016, oil-based fibres such as polyester, acrylic, and nylon accounted for an estimated 65 million tons of production, including 45 million tons of filament and 20 million tons of staple. Production of cellulosic manmade fibres reached 6 million tons.
Download data table: World Fibre Production up to 2016
About the Discover Natural Fibre Initiative
The Discover Natural Fibre Initiative (DNFI) was created in January 2010 as an outgrowth of the International Year of Natural Fibres 2009, declared by the United Nations General Assembly. The purposes of DNFI are to advance the interests of all natural fibre industries and to encourage increased use of natural fibres in the world economy. DNFI is a voluntary association of individuals and organizations with interests in promoting natural fibres through collaboration, consultation and cooperation.
The Organization works to further the interests of natural fibres by serving as a platform for information exchange, by providing statistics on fibre production and use, and by working to raise awareness of the benefits of natural fibre industries to the world economy, environment and consumers.
Source: DFNI, press release, 2017-07-28.