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Kenyan Prof innovates local dye for textile industry
03
May '12
Professor RK Mibey, Vice Chancellor of Moi University, and his team have invented tamidye, which is expected to boost the ailing Kenyan textile industry.

Tamidye, made from “Stinking Roger” (Tagetes minuta) plant, was studied for three years for its chemical qualities and is now used in printing African shirts.

The research carried out by Prof. Mibey was funded by National Council for Science and Technology, and the Kenyan Government is expecting the innovation to improve the country's global prominence.

Briefing about the plant from which the dye has been invented, Prof. Mibey told fibre2fashion, “T minuta, also known as Stinking Roger, grows throughout Kenya and especially in fields cultivated with maize during the long main seasons. This plant is a prolific seed producer (more than 29,000 seeds per plant) that aggressively colonizes growth media such as soil.”

The dye invented from Tagetes minuta is organic, hence environment-friendly. The advocacy for its use is in line with goal number seven of the Millennium Development Goals.

To actualize the innovation, Moi University acquired Rift Valley Textiles Limited in October, 2007 after it had collapsed for ten years. “The facility heavily depends on the availability of dyes for production, which are not locally available and imported from countries such as India and South Africa. However, considering the high demand for dye by other countries, prompt supplies have not been easy,” informs Prof. Mibey.

Explaining the likely benefits to Kenya because of the new innovation, he says, “The production of dye locally will make it more readily available and at a lower cost. It will boost the ailing Kenyan textile industry and at the same time bring income to the Government through exportation of the product as well as creating employment opportunities.”

Making a mention of African shirts on which the dye has been used for printing, he says, “The African shirts that we prepare in Rivatex East Africa are of original creation. These prints promote diverse cultures of African heritage. We print pictures of animals that are found in the region as a way of promoting tourism as well.”

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