Value-added banana products a boon for SHGs

PRODUCTIVE: Officials having a glimpse of value-added banana products made by women members of self-help groups.

PRODUCTIVE: Officials having a glimpse of value-added banana products made by women members of self-help groups.  

Staff Reporter

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development to establish workshed

TIRUCHI: Having undergone a short-term training in value-added products from banana, a few villagers in Tiruchi district have now taken up the micro venture of making several products from banana including delicious chips and mouth-watering pickles.

Of the 40 persons, mostly women self-help group members who underwent the training, six persons including five women have now become promising entrepreneurs, marketing their value added products in and around Mullikarumbur, Ettarai, Koppu and Vayalur, where banana is cultivated as a main crop.

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), which organised the training jointly with the National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB), has now planned to establish a workshed in any one of the villages, which has become a "banana cluster zone".

The bank would provide Rs.three lakhs for the construction of the workshed in the cluster zone for the manufacture of value-added banana products and another Rs. one lakh for the machinery, according to the NABARD, Assistant General Manager, Tiruchi, P. Selvaraj.

This was the first time that a banana cluster had been formed in the country to promote value-added products from the produce, he added.

Without going on in for loan from the banks, the six entrepreneurs have embarked on the venture utilising their savings available with the self-help groups.

The NABARD has formed the cluster with the twin aims of popularising the value-added banana products and market the end products. Value-addition would help in reducing the wastage from the fibre to its skin.

To help market the products, the bank also arranged for a buyer-seller meet at Ettarai recently where the buyers' requirements, with regard to type of products, was ascertained.

Of the 17 varieties of products that could be made from banana, these entrepreneurs have involved themselves in the manufacture of banana `thokku', fig (dehydrated fruit), pickles and chips.

In order to keep up the tempo, the bank has planned to co-ordinate with other agencies including the Krishi Vigyan Kendra to impart training more number of interested rural entrepreneurs in Tiruchi, a leading district in banana cultivation. The NABARD would also make arrangements for loans to the entrepreneurs.

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