Markets and trade

Joint Meeting of the 39th Session of the IGG on Hard Fibres and the 41st Session of the Intergovernmental Group on Jute, Kenaf and Allied Fibres; and the Twentieth Session of the Sub-Group of Sisal and Henequen Producing Countries

15-17 November 2017


“Harnessing the opportunities arising from a dynamic sisal global market for Tanzania’s socioeconomic development”

 Tanga, Tanzania, 14 November 2017

Participants to the Dialogue with H.E. Dr. Charles Tizeba, Minister of Agriculture, United Republic of Tanzania.


The Intergovernmental Groups on Hard Fibers and on Jute, Kenaf and Allied Fibres (IGG/HFJU), subsidiary bodies of the Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP), provide a unique space for policy dialogue and consensus building between producing and consuming countries on emerging issues affecting the natural fibres industry. The IGG/HFJU play an important role in contributing to the development of jute, abaca, coir, kenaf and sisal (JACKS) in emerging economies and developing countries. Policies advocated by the Forum and its analysis are evidence-based and grounded in a solid data collection approach supported by two-way communication between the Secretariat and the member countries.

The Joint Meeting (JM) of the 39th session of the Intergovernmental Group on Hard Fibres and the 41st session of the IGG/HFJU were held in Tanga, United Republic of Tanzania, from 15 to 17 November 2017. The JM was preceded by a half-day Dialogue consultation on sisal production and trade and its contribution to social development in Tanzania. The open dialogue took place in afternoon of 14 November 2017.

Inaugurated by Hon. Dr Charles Tizeba, Minister for Agriculture of the United Republic of Tanzania, the Dialogue raised awareness of the critical role of sisal and other hard fibres for Tanzania’s overall development. He highlighted issues, challenges and opportunities related to the sector, including supply and demand-related constraints hampering the country’s ability to harness the benefits arising from a dynamic global fibre market.

 The FAO IGG Secretariat facilitated the dialogue. It also provided the key note presentation on “Sisal global trade and market: opportunities for Tanzania and role of the IGG”. Other presentations were given by the Tanzania Sisal Board, the International Natural Fibres Organization (INFO), OXFAM Tanzania and the local private sector represented by Katani Ltd.

The Dialogue was attended by 120 participants including international delegates from Ghana, Germany, Haiti, India, Kenya, Mozambique and Sri Lanka. Other international participants included experts from the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), INFO and the London Sisal Association (LSA). Numerous local participants attended, representing the public sector, the business community, the civil society, the Academia, the media as well as other stakeholders.

The discussions emphasized the need to stimulate domestic consumption of sisal and sisal products and encouraged the industry to promote a higher use of by-products. The industry was urged to increase productivity and quality to ensure higher competitiveness, both on domestic and international markets. The Dialogue further recommended identifying opportunities for farmers to capture higher shares in the value chain, inter alia, through the creation and promotion of brands. These in turn would require certification schemes that reflect quality standards as well as social and environmental attributes.

The Dialogue also identified options for alternative use of sisal and sisal products, as well as challenges when making inroads into new markets. The meeting recommended stricter grading regulations and standards to ensure that large quantities at consistent high quality could be provided, as a prerequisite to ensure large-scale industrial demand. It was also recognised that such efforts would require added capacity development efforts.

The Dialogue welcomed JACKS market monitoring reports regularly published by the Secretariat and encouraged the FAO to continue providing industry-specific data and extend its price analyses to various processed and manufactured sisal products, as well as those of competing products.