AbstractThis study was centered on finding a locally sourced alternative to imported long-fibre pulp for Nigerian pulp and paper mills. Fibre characteristics, chemical composition, and paper properties of pulp handsheets at different levels of kappa number and freeness in the range of 10 oSR and 62 oSR were evaluated using air-dried bast fibre obtained from decorticated kenaf plants grown in southern guinea savanna near Jebba, Nigeria. Kenaf bast fibre compared well with softwood, with an average fibre length of 2.90 mm, a flexibility ratio of 57%, and a Runkel ratio of 0.76. Ash, lignin, and pentosan contents were 0.6%, 12.5%, and 10.6%, respectively, while the cellulose content was 55.5%. Under alkali charge of 15.0 and, sulphidity of 17.5 with constant temperature, cooking time, and liquor-to-fibre ratio of 4.5:1, the screen yield was between 48.8 to 52.8 % with kappa number 12.04 to 20.5. Unbleached pulpsheets at kappa number between 15 and18.5 and pulp freeness 55 oSR and bleached pulp freeness between 148 and 336 mLs had better quality paper in terms of overall pulpsheet strength properties.