Tobacco Board To Set Up Two Factories To Process Kenaf

RANTAU PANJANG (Kelantan), Nov 6 (Bernama) — The National Tobacco Board plans to set up
two factories to process kenaf, an agricultural alternative to replace tobacco.
Its chairman Datuk Mohd Zain Ismail said the factories, costing RM1.2 million and RM2.5
million, are expected to be located in Pasir Putih, Kelantan, and Setiu, Terengganu.
“We hope the two factories, which are expected to be ready next year, will facilitate the
farmers in selling their kenaf output,” he told Bernama.
Kenaf is promoted as a replacement crop for about 15,000 farmers who have been involved in
the cultivation of tobacco for the past 30 years in Kelantan and Terengganu.
Its output can be used in the fibre and textile industries, and is considered to have good
prospects in the world market.
According to Mohd Zain, another factory is expected to be set up by the private sector in
Rantau Panjang and it will be able to purchase several thousand metric tonnes of kenaf for
processing each year.
He also said that 300 hectares in Kelantan were currently under kenaf cultivation, and about
20 percent was beginning to be harvested and sold to the private sector.
Mohd Zain said as part of the recently launched East Coast Economic Region (ECER)
development, the board will help about 4,000 tobacco farmers to shift to planting kenaf,
adding that over 10,000 farmers have started planting other crops over the past years.
“We encourage the planting of kenaf because of its high potential with the market price at
RM300 per metric tonne for kenaf while those processed into fibres are worth RM1,300 per
metric tonne,” he said.