PTRI invests P25M to boost PH natural dyes production

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

February 13, 2023, 7:01 pm

MANILA – The Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) has invested PHP25 million to boost natural dyes (NatDyes) production in the country, an executive said Monday.

Under the “Colorimetric and Performance Standardization of NatDyes Produced in Various Natdyes Hubs in the Philippines” project, the PTRI has been helping at least five communities to produce natural dyes powders.

These communities are located in Occidental Mindoro, Bukidnon, Abra, Antique and Rizal.

Communities in Mindoro, Bukidnon and Abra are commercially producing indigo powders, while the other two communities are engaged in Philippine indigo cultivation and propagation as an additional livelihood.

"Aside from Philippine indigo, there are other identified natural dye sources that we could use as textile colorant. The PTRI has documented over 100 natural textile dye sources (botanicals) and we are adding to this list because there are many untapped natural colorants in our nation," PTRI officer in charge Julius Leaño told the Philippine News Agency.

He said the Indigo plant (Indigofera tinctoria) grows well in tropical climate.

"In the Philippines, this is predominantly commercially grown in Abra and Occidental Mindoro, and Bukidnon. Among our list of natural dye supplies, this plant dye is the most promising due to its color quality and community-scale manufacturing," Leaño said

Indigo, he said, is one of the commercially available dyes in the Philippine market, and therefore, ensuring the integrity, purity, and authenticity of this natural dye is critical.

"Compared to other natural colorants, the simplicity and purity of its chromophore system makes it appropriate for developing a template protocol or standard for natural dyes," said Leaño.

Conventional dyers utilize synthetic colorants during the dyeing process and could pose potential harm and hazard to the environment, according to Leaño.

"With the use of natural colorants, we can partake in reducing this environmental risk," he said, adding that the PTRI is also supporting local communities by linking them to the burgeoning natural dye industry.

The executive said PTRI's project will benefit the natural dyes stakeholders including natural dyes hubs and facilities, local designers, artists, and textile enthusiasts.

About 60 percent of the total project budget was allocated for equipment outlay mainly for colorant research and development, 30 percent for the maintenance and other operating expenses, and 10 percent for personnel services.

Leaño said community beneficiaries were also a recipient of various Indigo propagation tools and technical training. (PNA)