Banana growers in Mysuru can now use waste generated in banana plantations to make additional income.
Approximately 30 tonnes of waste is generated per acre in one crop season from banana stem alone. This has become a worrying factor for growers in villages around Nanjangud, especially at Hadinaru village, who had the task of finding a way to dump such large amounts of waste. Students of the Academy of Scientific Innovative Research at the Mysuru-based Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) have now come to their aid and developed a model that gives commercial value to waste.
Waste to wealth
Under CSIR-CFTRI’s proposed WMM (Waste to Wealth) model, the waste generated can be used for fibre extraction and stem juice production, using technologies developed by CFTRI over the years, and for vermicomposting.
Fibre extracted from banana stem can be blended easily with cotton fibre or other synthetic fibres to produce blended fabric and textiles. It is mainly used by the cottage industry in South India at present.
Banana fibre also finds use in high-quality security/currency paper, packing cloth for agriculture produce, ship-towing ropes, wet drilling cables, etc.
The juice extracted from stem has many medicinal benefits. The model is expected to give substantial income with little capital investment, said CFTRI Director Ram Rajashekaran.
Two tonnes of banana stem waste was brought from the fields to the CFTRI lab recently, and fibre extraction, stem juice production and bio-compost preparation were demonstrated to farmers, buyers, processors, officials of NABARD, and technologists from CSIR-CFTRI. Prof. Rajasekharan said scientists at the institute are working on a road map to make a sports beverage from banana stem juice.