How Nigerians Can Make Millions from Banana Fibre Business

That Nigeria is a country blessed with abundant natural resources is cliche. However, we are pleased to share with you some information shared by a Twitter user, @sarnchos  (Awe Onisokuso) who took his time to present the economic opportunities  around processing and converting banana/plantain fibre into different products. A potential multi-billion naira industry that can make many Nigerians millionaires. Read his explanation next…

Someone opened my eyes to yet another potentially huge industry that we can build in Nigeria through the processing of a currently largely wasted product.

Banana/plantain stems/trunks

You see, Nigeria ranks among the highest producers (& consumers) of plantains in the world

A by-product of plantain (and banana) cultivation, is the stem, which is either usually wasted or used as mulching for the next planting season

Plantains multiply by producing up to 6 young suckers per mature plant

This means that Nigeria has the capacity to more than quadruple

Plantain production every year.

The stems of plantain, when processed, can be made into high fibres which are useful for the following products:

Sacks
Ropes
Textiles
Tents
Screens
Bags
Canvas
Covers
Blankets and carpets (with wool)
Pop fibre
Hair extensions (ie weave-ons)

Sanitary pads

This is a huge possibility that holds a sustainable way to raise the living standards of female children through empowerment and value creation 

Paper

This is another means of utilizing waste to create a highly demanded product useful for packaging, padding, disposable materials, and (combined with other materials such as cassava starch) even waterproof disposable materials. 

What are the Characterstics of banana fibre?

1. Natural sorbent:

Fabric from theses fibres lets you breathe well and will keep you cool on hot days.

2. Soft, supple & shimmer:

Banana fabric is soft & supple, though not quite as soft as cotton or rayon.

Nearly all plant stem-based fibres are a little more stiff and coarse than cotton or rayon. Its natural shimmer makes it look a lot like silk.

3. Comfort:

Banana fibre clothing is comfortable and not likely to trigger allergies.

4. Biodegradable.

5. Resistance: It is grease-

proof, water-, fire- and heat-resistant

6. Durability:

Even if the banana fabric is made from the tough outer sheath, it is not as strong & durable as any fabric like hemp, bamboo, or other natural fibre.

7. Insulation:

It is not particularly insulating.

8. Spin ability & tensile strength:

It is better than other organic fibres in terms of spin ability and tensile strength.

What makes banana fibres special?

1. Banana fibre is a good alternative to all the synthetic & natural fibres.

2. Banana fibre is eco-friendly,

chemical-free, non-toxic & odour-free.

3. The natural coolant & medicinal property of banana fibres helps in the health of its user & is 100 per cent safe as no harmful chemicals & colours are used

4. Blending cotton & banana fibre could lessen the demand for cotton cultivation

Now let’s do some quick numbers

Current production capacity for plantain by-products (such as leaves, rotten fruit, and stem) in Nigeria today is estimated at about 16m tons per annum.

It has the capacity to create over 300,000 jobs just for processing banana stems,

And add about $1b to GDP annually

Most importantly, it can contribute heavily towards completely domesticating the production of Sanitary pads, while providing a cheap product, that is accessible to all females in Nigeria.