The Indonesian government's decision to promote natural fibres in place of synthetics may have merit, but the country's garment and textile export industry may not gain from the move, experts argue.

Indonesia's Ministry of Industry recently announced plans to promote banana and pineapple fibres to minimise its textile industry's dependence on polyester and rayon. But industry experts have doubts.

"We don't think alternative natural fibre - such as banana and pineapple - will able to replace the usage of current ordinary fibre such as cotton, polyester nor rayon," Asep Setiaharja, vice secretary general of the Indonesian Textile Association (API), told just-style.

After all, every fibre has its own characteristic which cannot be replaced easily, he explained, adding "textile products of each fibre has its own buyer."

And Indonesia is a major producer of polyester and rayon fibres: the country's annual production capacity of polyester fibre is 600,000 tonnes and will reach 900,000 tonnes this year, while rayon fibre capacity is approaching 415,000 tonnes, he said.

That said, banana and pineapple fibres can still add value to the textile sector- especially handicraft textiles due to their current scarcity and special characteristics, which will however come at a premium price, Setiaharja added.