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Plastic ban raises hopes for Kenya's sisal farmers - 9 months ago, 22 June 10:47

Reuters

Kenyan farmer Sam Mung’ala once struggled to feed his family by growing cowpeas and sorghum.

These days he is betting on a new type of merchandise: shopping bags.

The farmer from Kibwezi town in the country’s south is planting and selling sisal, a source of fibre that roadside vendors and market traders use to make carrier bags.

“A kilo used to sell for 30 Kenyan shillings ($0.30) but now it can fetch up to 100 shillings ($1) since the plastic ban,” he said, crouching to sharpen a machete at his farm.

Last year Kenya passed a law aimed at reducing plastic pollution, whereby Kenyans producing, selling or even using plastic bags risk imprisonment of up to four years or fines of $40,000.

“Farmers are taking more interest in sisal due to the growing demand for shopping bags made with plant fibre,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Sisal provides a greener alternative to plastic, “as ...
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