Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Looking for alternatives in Banana cultivation and use of its Fibre

Fiber extraction in drought affected banana field

Crisis creates for alternatives for livelihood promotion. The recent dry heavy wind played havoc for Banana cultivators in Sirugamani area. The farmers already suffer due to the drought for lack of water for irrigation and lack adequate electricity for agriculture operations for pumping water. A few farmers took loans and cultivated banana using diesel lift pumps for cultivation Bananas in this region. A sudden whirlwind   devastated the banana plantations and most of the banana trees before four weeks harvest had fallen creating a major loss to the banana farmers. This is a great shock for the farming community to have drought coupled with whirlwind devastation. The farmers could use the dried fallen banana trees and started extraction of fiber of a banana plant as this has use. The fibres from the plant are used to tie garlands and string flowers; the innermost part of the stem is edible and has rich medicinal properties. K.Devendran, the banana farmer said, “Crisis creates for alternatives for livelihood promotion. The stem of the banana plant has 15 layers, with the outermost used for tying garlands.  By-products of the fibre are : fabrics, bags, various types of mats, interior decoration items, window blinds, cushion covers, bolster covers, table lamps and folders, etc.The products are completely eco-friendly and bio-degradable. There is no consumption of electricity while making the products as it is made on the hands. Also, no chemicals are used in the manufacture. It is an excellent substitute for plastic and paper. This fibre of banana plant can be useful to support the livelihood of many poor families in the villages and also help to preserve resources. The process of extraction is done by hand by experienced women artisans. They collect the banana bark of the well-matured banana trees. Then the bark is split into strips and it is treated with water to make it smooth and supple. Then the pith is separated from the fiber. This fiber is hooked to the spinning wheel to make the yarn. The yarn thus made is used to make banana fiber products. Some are made in the handloom, while others are hand-woven using the banana fibre yarn”.Govin

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