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2014 (Vol. 6, Issue: 3)
Article Information:

Post-harvest Handling, Storage and Processing of Sisal (Agave sisalana) Fibres in the Hhohho District of Swaziland

V.S. Vilane, P.E. Zwane, M.T. Masarirambi and J.M. Thwala
Corresponding Author:  V.S. Vilane 

Key words:  Agave sisalana, decortication, livelihoods, natural dyes, plant fibres, rural women,
Vol. 6 , (3): 127-133
Submitted Accepted Published
April 26, 2013 May 31, 2013 March 20, 2014

The aim of this study was to establish the current practices and problems encountered in product development using sisal fibres with the view to explore the use of enzymes in releasing and softening the fibres. Associations making products of sisal fibres were identified in the Hhohho region of Swaziland and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools and questionnaires were utilised in obtaining results for this study. Findings revealed that plant fibre production in the country was mainly done by unemployed rural women who used sisal plant leaves and employed crude decortication methods. The majority of the women (67%) were married, 48% were still highly productive as they were in between the ages of 16 and 35 years. About 31% of them were illiterate, with only 34% gone as far as primary education. The majority of the women (55%) were living on less than US $40.00/month which was too low considering the poverty datum line. A wide range of products were made and marketed abroad via an intermediate dealer. The study revealed that the women’s efforts of making a living through handicraft were affected by the rough texture of sisal fibres, thus a need for research in modifying the texture of the fibres. The sisal project was found to be ecologically unsustainable because handcrafters relied on wild sisal and they lacked appropriate technology to increase productivity.
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  Cite this Reference:
V.S. Vilane, P.E. Zwane, M.T. Masarirambi and J.M. Thwala , 2014. Post-harvest Handling, Storage and Processing of Sisal (Agave sisalana) Fibres in the Hhohho District of Swaziland.  Research Journal of Environmental and Earth Sciences, 6(3): 127-133.
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ISSN (Online):  2041-0492
ISSN (Print):   2041-0484
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