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Russia to reintroduce hemp for technical textiles

The Russian ministry of industry and trade say the share of natural fabrics and materials in the Russian textiles industry is slowly falling in favour of their synthetic counterparts, however, plans are afoot to expand the raw materials base for technical textiles, including the reintroduction of hemp fibre for technical textile applications. In the last five years, the annual growth of natural fibre and yarn consumption in Russia was equivalent to 5-6 per cent per year, as against 13-15 per cent in the case of synthetics and the difference continues to grow in favour of synthetics.

This same trend is seen worldwide where, according to analysts’, the share of synthetic and man-made fibres in global consumption will increase from 45 per cent to 65-70 per cent by 2025. In Russia, last year, the local synthetic and man-made fibres market exceeded 650,000 tonnes in volume and $950 million in value. Trade analysts predict further market growth this year.

Currently, most of Russian demand for synthetic fibres is met through imports, mostly from China. However, the situation may change in coming years with the Russian government announcing plans to increase domestic production.

Andrei Razbrodin, President of Russian Association of Textile and Light Industry Producers (RATLIP) disclosed, “The countries of East Asia have long placed a stake on the production and export of their synthetic fibres and yarns abroad. This is reflected by statistics which shows that today this region provides about half of the world production of these materials. Obviously, high competitiveness of Asian producers in the international arena is mainly related to the ability of their producers to save on costs. Due to this, Russian manufacturers may find it difficult to compete with Asian rivals in the coming years, even in the domestic market.”

Despite this, the production of synthetic fibres and yarns in Russia has significantly increased in recent years. Currently, domestic producers cover around 35 per cent of the country’s demand and there is a possibility that these figures will continue to grow in years to come.