The United Nations General Assembly recently declared 2009 as the International Year of Natural Fiber. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN resolution would help millions of people around the world, among them some of the poorest people in some of the poorest countries, which depend on the production and processing of natural fibers for their livelihood. Natural fibers contribute to food security and economic development for these farmers.
The International Year of Natural Fibers is expected to raise consumers’ awareness of natural fibers and strengthen demand for natural fiber products, improving the livelihoods of the farmers who produce them and translate to revenues for countries that export them. At the same time, promoting the use of natural fibers will enhance the environment.
The wide range of natural fibers includes cotton, wool, jute, flax, silk, sisal, coconut fiber and many others. Some are produced from plants, others from animals and they are used in clothing and other consumer goods, as well as in industrial applications.