What is Sisal

Sisal is farmed in the sub tropical regions of Mexico, Brazil & East Africa. No pesticides or chemical fertilizers are used in sisal production, and most weeding is done by hand. The sisal (Agave) plant is typically around 250cm in height and can produce up to 250 leaves in its lifetime. Course sisal fibres are extracted by an arduous process of crushing and scraping the leaves. The sisal fibres are then washed by hand or machine before being hung in the sun to dry. Next the sisal fibres are beaten to soften them and are then bailed, ready to be dyed and spun. These bales are then exported to countries around the world to be manufactured into a variety of products from sisal rugs to ropes. Every 100kg of leaves yields just 5kg of sisal fibre. It takes about 800 leaves to make one bail of twine. The largest producer of sisal fibre is Brazil however the world's highest quality sisal comes from East Africa (Madagascar, Kenya and Tanzania) where the fibres are generally longer and finer than sisal fibres from other countries. Sisal is not the same fibre as coir or jute. Sisal is stronger and more durable than these and other natural fibres.
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