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Tamil Nadu villages banana

bonanza: Eat it, wear it

Sarees made from banana fibre? Yes, they existed during the Ramayana era; and the art has been
revived after several millennia at a village near Chennai. Whats more, these sarees are eco-
friendly. And no, they arent slippery, reports MR Venkatesh.
INDIA Updated: Jul 28, 2009 01:06 IST

MR Venkatesh
Hindustan Times

Sarees made from banana fibre?

Yes, they existed during the Ramayana era; and the art has been revived after
several millennia at a village near Chennai. Whats more, these sarees are
eco-friendly. And no, they arent slippery.

Two years ago, I read Sita was gifted sarees woven from banana fibres,
said C. Sekar, 40, a handloom weaver in Anakaputhur village. I thought:
Why cant we revive this tradition?

Several months of trial and error later, Sekar, president of the Anakaputhur
Jute Weavers Association, and 30 fellow weavers perfected the art of
extracting fibres from plantain stems and weaving them.

Today, the association sells 150 such sarees, spun from a mix of banana and
cotton or silk fibres, every month at Rs 700-2,500 each.
We will also shortly apply for a patent, said Sekar.

It was sheer survival instinct that led him to this innovation. A booming
handloom centre even 10 years ago, 95 per cent of Anaka-puthurs 7,000
looms have shut down since then. There was no market for jute-based
handlooms, and the future looked bleak. Fortunately, the banana sarees have
been received well, Sekar, who displayed them for the first time at the
Banana Festival in Chennai, told HT.

Next step: stitching mens shirts from this eco-fabric, expanding capacity to
cope with the increased demand and venturing abroad.

PREM DUBEY-Chairman(Jabalpur Chamber of Commerce) A Platform for

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Start a Business in Banana Fibre Extraction & Weaving

Start a Businesss in Banana Fibre Extraction & Weaving

High quality banana fibre is used for making good quality paper and for
blending in textile industry. You can start a business of extracting and weaving
banana fibre. This business requires skills and good networking.

Banana fibre is eco friendly like jute fibre. The technology of banana fibre extraction has been
developed in South India where in a good number of banana fibre extraction units have been
running very successfully. Some firms are exporting the banana fibre products.

Banana growing states of N.E.Region has adopted the technology from South and started
production of banana fibre and fabric.


The banana fibre is being used for weaving attractive pieces of clothes, rugs, sarees etc. Besides,
it is also being used to produce a variety of items such as hats, photo frames, trinket boxes, gift
bags, picture frames, hand bags, belts, baskets and sandals etc.

Dresses woven out of natural fibres are in great demand inside and outside India.


Capacity utilization : 70%

Average daily production

envisaged : 10 Kg cloth.

: 25 days in a month and 300 days in a

Working days/year year.

Annual production :

- Door Mat : 1000 Nos.

- Floor covering : 1000Nos.

- Screen : 1600 Mt.

- Durry : 1500Nos.


The main raw material for the unit is banana tree which is abundantly available in the State of
Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

1.Cost of Banana Stem :1.40 lakhs

2.Misc. items :0.20 lakhs

Total : 1.60 lakhs.


Banana growing areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.


Banana Fibre Processing and Weaving :

The extraction of the natural fibre from the plant required certain care to avoid damage. In the
present experiments, initially the banana plant sections were cut from the main stem of the
plant and then rolled lightly to remove the excess moisture. Impurities in the rolled fibres such
as pigments, broken fibres, coating of cellulose etc. were removed manually by menas of comb,
and then the fibres were cleaned and dried.

This mechanical and manual extraction of banana fibres was tedious, time consuming, and
caused damage to the fibre. Consequently, this type of technique cannot be recommended for
industrial application. A special machine was designed and developed for the extraction of
banana fibres in a mechanically automated manner. It consisted mainly of two horizontal beams
whereby a carriage with an attached and specially designed comb, could move back and forth.
The fibre extraction using this technique could be performed simply by placing a cleaned part of
the banana stem on the fixed platform of the machine, and clamped at the ends by jaws. This
eliminated relative movement of the stem and avoided premature breakage of the fibres.
Thiswas followed by cleaning and drying of the fibres in a chamber at 20oC for three hours. This
fibres were then labeled and ready for lamination process.

After extraction of fibre, weaving is done in the looms as per normal process like any other


The major equipment required are :

Sl.No. Particulars Nos.

1. Banana fibre extractor 2

2. Loom complete with all accessories 4

3. Bobbin circle 1

4. Charkha 1

5. Bobbin 100

6. Pirn 100

7. Shuttle 8

8. Misc. items L.S.


The major infrastructural requirement are :

Covered area : 1200Sq.ft.

Power : 5KW.


The total capital requirement including fixed capital and working capital is estimated at Rs.1.70
lakhs as follows. Of this, the project cost comprising fixed capital and margin money on working
capital is Rs.1.55 lakhs.

(Rs. In

A Fixed Capital :

Land and Building Own

Plant and Machinery 0.90

Misc. fixed assets. 0.30

Preliminary & Pre-op. Expenses: 0.10

Total(A) : 1.30

B. Working Capital :

Raw materials & Packing materials 15 days0.09

Finished goods 15 days0.20

Working Expenses 1 month0.16

Receivables 15 days.0.25

Total (B) :0.70

Total(A) +
(B) :1.70

Note : Working capital may be

financed as :

Bank Finance (65%) Rs. 0.45 lakh

Margin Money (35%) Rs. 0.25 lakh.

Total :Rs. 0.70 lakh.

C. Capital Cost of Projec

Fixed Cost : Rs. 1.30 lakh

Margin Money for Working

Capital. : Rs. 1.25 lakh

Total : Rs. 1.55 lakh.


Promoters contribution (35%) : 0.55 lakh

Term Loan (65%) : 1.00 lakh.

Total :1.55 lakh


The annual operating expenses are estimated at Rs 4.99 lakhs as given

below :

(Rs. in lakhs)

1.Raw materials : 1.60

2.Packing materials. : 0.20

3.Utilities : 0.40

4.Wages & Salaries : 1.50

5.Rent, Insurance etc. : 0.30

6.Other overheads. : 0.35

Selling expenses @ 5% on

Sales. : 0.33

8.Interest on term loan @ 12.50% : 0.13

9.Interest on bank finance

for working capital @11%. : 0.05

10.Depreciation 10% on M/c. : 0.13

Total : 4.99


Sl. Items Qnty. Rates(Rs) Value (Rs)


1. Door Mat (13 x 22) 1000 Nos. 60/- 0.60

2. Floor Covering (4 x 6) 1000 Nos. 300/- 3.00

3. Screen 1600 Nos. 50/- 0.80

4. Durry (2.5 x 5.0) 1500 Nos. 150/- 2,25

Total 6.65

Based on the sales realization of Rs 6.65 lakhs and the operating expenses of Rs 4.99 lakhs, the
profit at rated capacity utilization would be Rs 1.66 lakhs per year. This works out to be return
on investment of 98%. The unit will break even at about 31% of the targeted annual production.


The major highlights of the project are as follows :

Total capital requirement Rs. 1.70 lakhs.

Promoters contribution Rs. lakhs.

Annual Sales realization Rs. lakhs.

Annual operating expenses Rs. lakhs.

Annual Profit (Pre-tax) Rs. 1.66 lakhs.

Pre-tax return on sales 25%.

Break-Even Point. 31%.

No. of persons employed. 8 Nos.


Addresses of Machinery and Raw Material Suppliers :

Supplier of Banana Fibre Extractor :

M/s Andhra Pradesh Agro-Industries Dev. Corporation,


Looms and other accessories are available in the local market.

Banana fibre emerging good business proposition

BANANA fibre extraction is emerging as a good business proposition in Tamil Nadu and
Kerala following good demand for the fibre.

Especially, three hamlets off Marthandam in Tamil Nadu Thakkalai, Thiruvattaru and Mathur
have become the centre for banana fibre wherein every household of the village is engaged in
the fibre extraction activity eking out their livelihood.

``Manual fibre extraction from the banana pseudostem is an arduous task,'' says Ms Kalpana, a
research associate at the National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB) at Tiruchi.

Ms Kalpana, who is engaged in a project on physiochemical and structural characteristic of

banana pseudostem told Business Line that there was huge demand for the banana fibre, which
was (blended with other natural fibres) used in making a wide range of goods as cordage, yarns,
paper and paper cups, tea cups and tea bags, attractively patterned cloth, handbags/purses and

A tribute to the tear and tensile strength of banana fibre were the Japanese yen notes printed on
paper from the fibre of the banana variety abaca, she added.

``Because of the huge demand in the markets abroad, the pseudostem is not junked anymore,''
she said and pointed out that a kg of the fibre was bought locally only for about Rs 50.
``However, the maximum quantity of fibre that an individual can extract in a day would be just
500 g whereas in the mechanical process the same quantity could be extracted in an hour,'' she

Only wooden boards and metal scrapper are used in the manual fibre extraction process, Ms
Kalpana said. NRCB had collaborated with a Mumbai-based research institute for developing a
low cost mechanical device for the purpose.

According to her, over 5 lakh hectares of area were under banana in India, and the pseudostem
alone would account for 28 million tonnes, from which the fibre, if extracted should weigh
around 2.2 million tonnes every year. There are at least 117 different banana varieties. The fibre
content in the wild varieties is said to be more.

She said that a survey conducted in the Nagercoil belt showed that four red banana plants could
yield one kg of fibre as against 10 plants of the nendran variety. ``The fibre content is even less
in commercial varieties like robusta.''

INDIA: Plantain saree is the new black

by Sunish Jacob Mathew, On Manamara

Conventionally, the fibre of plantain stems has for long been considered to be of no use. But
a womens self-help group in Chennai has proved the conventional wisdom wrong.
They have proved that plantain fibre can be used to weave high-quality sarees, and leading
them from the front is a Malayali housewife, Laila, who hails from Thiruvananthapuram.

Shekhar, who is a weaver, has brought together these women, in tie up with the Womens
Association to run the venture.

In demand for weddings

The sarees made of plantain fibre is in good demand for events such as marriages and
parties. Though the product is available at retail shops, most of the sales directly happens
from the production centre. Sarees are made to order to suit the customers taste. Apart
from sarees that are made from banana plantain fibre alone, a blend of banana fibre-cotton
or banana fibre-silk are also available.

Price up to Rs 25,000 (USD 390)

The price of the saree is proportional to the dimension of the plantain fibre used to make it.
A 100% plantain fibre saree will cost up to Rs 25,000 (USD 390) while the base price Rs
1,500 (USD 23). Sarees are woven according to order and the customers can get their
sarees in their favourite designs. According to Shekhar, it takes two days to weave one
saree, on an average.

Though there are demands from customers in foreign countries such as Japan and China,
they have not been able to fully meet the demand since their production capacity is still
small scale.

Shekhar said that the venture has received a central government award for New Small
Scale Industry.
Hand woven
The sarees are woven by hand after separating the fibre by scrapping with a knife over the
cleaned banana plantain skin. The fibre is then dried in the sun and made into threads,
which are given a white colour first, before processing them into fine fabric of desired

Mahilar Sangham, the Kudambashree of Tamil Nadu

Like Kudumbashree of Kerala, the Mahilar Sangham, a self-help group of women in Tamil
Nadu, brings together housewives to weave sarees. They separate the fibre from banana
plantain stems and also weave them into threads. Around 150 women, grouped into ten
groups of 15 each, are working in this sector and earn an average Rs 150 (USD 2.30)/head
per day.

Laila, who has been residing in Chennai for a decade now, oversees the activities of these
women. There are a few other Malayali housewives too who are also a part of the initiative.

According to Laila, with these women finding a steady source of income, it has been of great
help to their individual families. They can even extract the fibre sitting at home, she says.

Even the fibre pays

Usually, the process of separating fibre from the plantain stems is carried out by a small
group of five-six women. They earn up to Rs 5,000 (USD 78.50) per one kilogram of fibre
that is separated.

Separating a kilogram of fibre takes up to one month, but the attractive part is that those
who are willing to work more have the opportunity to earn more. Even in looms, where the
sarees are woven, women are employed. According to them, even if more women want to
join them for work, they have enough opportunity for all.

Two plantains make one saree

The plantain stem from which the fibre is separated is procured from the nearby vegetables
market or farms. About 200 grams of fibre can be extracted from one plantain. Fibre from
two plantains is enough to weave a saree that is fully made of banana plantain fibre. The
fibre that is not suitable for weaving is used to make attractive handicrafts and other
decorative items.

Source: Manorama Online

Not that long ago, Anakaputhur, a quiet little suburb in Chennai, was
famous across the world for exclusively being a weavers village. In the
decades since, the production has come down.

But the weavers, many of whom are the third generation weavers, are
determined to not only to keep the tradition thriving but also come up with
innovative kinds of fabric that are eco-friendly as well.
Which is why they have developed a fabric that looks
like denim but is made from banana fibre!

Image for representation. Photo source: Wikimedia

The jeans, that were launched recently and made from this unique type of
eco-friendly fibre, is only the latest in a long line of similar fabric developed by
the community in the recent years. In 2014, a group of weavers from the
region launched sarees that were made from Java cotton, a type of fibre
obtained from the kapok tree.

According to C Sekar, the president of the Jute Weavers Association, the

fabric that he has developed along with others in the association has the look
and feel of denim, but as its made from cotton and banana fibre, its better for
the summer months as it absorbs more water. Currently, his weaving unit has
made both jeans and skirts using this material. The buttons are made from
coconut shells rather than metal and the material is dyed using natural

Sekar is well-known for experimenting with different forms of weaving

methods, having made a saree from 25 different kinds of fabric. In fact, a
report from the Times of India notes that, hoping to tap into his expertise,
officials from Andaman and Nicobar Islands have solicited his help in training
artisans in this innovative methodology.