Ramie Fibre  
     
     
  World Ramie Production Map  
     
 

Ramie

Ramie (Boehmeria nivea), commonly known as China grass, white ramie, green ramie and rhea, is one of the group referred to as the bast fiber crops. The ramie plant is a hardy perennial belonging to the Urticaceae or Nettle family, which can be harvested up to 6 times a year. It produces a large number of unbranched stems from underground rhizomes and has a crop life from 6 to 20 years. The fibres need chemical treatment to remove the gums and pectins found in the bark.

Ramie is one of the oldest vegetable fibers and has been used for thousands of years. It was used in mummy cloths in Egypt during the period 5000 - 3000 BC, and has been grown in China for many centuries. The main producers of ramie today are China, Brazil, Philipines, India, South Korea and Thailand.

The stems of ramie grow to a height of 1-2.5 meters. The most suitable climate for ramie is one which is warm and humid, with an annual rainfall of at least 1000 mm. Well established plant can tolerate drought and frost, but grow better without. As ramie productivity is high it can rapidly deplete the nutrients of soil

Chemically ramie is classified as a cellulose fibre, just as cotton, linen, and rayon. Ramie is often blended with cotton to make woven and knit fabrics that resemble fine linen to coarse canvas. Ramie is commonly used in clothing, tablecloths, napkins and handkerchiefs. It is often blended with cotton in knit sweaters. Outside the clothing industry, ramie is used in fish nets, canvas, upholstery fabrics, straw hats and fire hoses.

Within the clothing and textile industry ramie has the following advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of Ramie

  • Resistant to bacteria, mildew, alkalis, rotting, light and insect attack.
  • Extremely absorbent (this makes it comfortable to wear)
  • Dyes fairly easy.
  • Natural stain resistance.
  • Increases in strength when wet.
  • Withstands high water temperatures during laundering.
  • Smooth lustrous appearance improves with washing.
  • Keeps its shape and does not shrink.
  • Strong and durable (It is reported to have a tensile strength eight times that of cotton and seven times greater than silk).
  • Can be bleached.

Disadvantages of Ramie

  • Low in elasticity.
  • Lacks resiliency.
  • Low abrasion resistance.
  • Wrinkles easily.
  • Stiff and brittle.
  • Necessary de-gumming process.
  • High cost (due to high labour requirement in production, harvesting and decortications).

The world ramie production map and available statistics on ramie is given below:

 

 

 

 

     
     
  World Ramie Production Graph  
     
 

 
     
     
  Ramie Production (‘000 MT)   
 

Country

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

World Total)

259.036

281.537

291.545

296.096

255.204

147.892

118.593

128.782

China

255

277.052

286.819

291.259

250.438

143.9

114.08

124

Brazil

1.196

1.158

1.221

1.072

1.023

0.499

0.831

0.971

Philippines

1.57

1.527

1.605

1.765

1.543

1.514

1.53

1.578

Lao People's Democratic Republic

1.27

1.8

1.9

2

2.2

1.979

2.152

2.233

 
 
     
     
     

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