Collector K. Senthil Raj inaugurated a value-addition unit for making a range of products from plantain fibre at Kottaampuli near here on Wednesday.
It will expected to benefit banana growers from 45 villages in this area.
As the plantain growers of Koottaampuli under Kumaragiri village panchayat near here are running the ‘Perunthalaivar Banana Growers’ Company’ for the past several years, the NABARD and Tamil Nadu Rural Transformation Project have given funds for the establishment of a value-addition unit at a cost of Rs. 18 lakh for making a range of products.
Inaugurating the unit, Dr. Senthil Raj said the company, by successfully operating this unit, should be a role model for other cultivators, who could go in for value-addition of their farm produce. Besides training the personnel on extracting fibre from the plantain sheath, the NABARD and the project had given assistance to install the machinery required for this process.
“Besides making value-added products like banana chips from banana fibre, cotton can be blended with banana fibre for weaving saris. The cotton-banana fibre-blended saris will be a instant hit among women. Since the district has been blessed with quality cotton being cultivated at Kovilpatti, Kayathar and Vilaathikulam areas and plantain cultivation is being taken in the areas closer to the Tamirabharani watercourse, we can get quality raw materials and do wonders with this new unit,” he said.
He said the value-added products of the company would be marketed locally and exported through Thoothukudi-based firms.
He urged the women to collect the water hyacinth for making value-added products from the fibre extracted from the waterweed, a lucrative business in Assam and Thailand.
“When we started this venture in Authoor, we trained women with the help of experts from Hyderabad. The quality of our water hyacinth value-added products has won the hearts of domestic and foreign buyers. Since the marketing potential is high, we are ready to train you in this business also,” he said and thanked chairman of SCAD Group of Institutions S. Cletus Babu for having trained the women in banana fibre value-addition.
Dr. Cletus Babu, Assistant General Manager of NABARD Suresh Ramalingam, Joint Director of Agriculture Mohideen and others were present.