Prof. Mohamed Ben Hassen, ISET (Tunisia) dealt with the possible uses of natural fibres other than cotton or woodpulp. Jute was the largest with 50% of the market, followed by coco- fibre (16%), flax (14%), kenaf (7%) sisal ( 6%), ramie (4%), abaca (2%) and hemp (1%). The Middle East and North Africa region was particularly rich in palm and alfa fibre. Palm was being used in carpets, baskets, bags, cords, mattresses and hats. Alfa was a source of papermaking fibre after chemical extraction (NaOH and NaOCl) and pulping. It could also be carded and needlepunched into nonwovens for composite reinforcement and waddings.
(from EDANA Middle East Symposium - Dubai - 14th and 15th Feb 2012)