Banana fibre showing export potential
Two friends in Jhenidah have joined hands extracting fibre from banana plants in Jhenidah Sadar upazila after being inspired by YouTube videos.
Osman Biswas and Shahed Mollah of Boromanderbaria village are eying to export the thread made of the fibre to different countries once they go in full swing production after importing additional machines from China.
Osman Biswas said he had been engaged in farming before going to Dubai where he stayed from 2012 to 2019. Watching videos on YouTube, he and his friend Shahed Mollah came up with the idea of extracting fibre from banana plants. They got two machines made from Sharatganj of Chuadanga district.
They started their venture in November 2021. The duo also aspires to gift a saree made of the fibre to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
They said that they will be able to sell the fibre at Tk 10,000 per kg to the Japanese and German markets. However, they need an initial investment of Tk 15 lakh to import three more machines from China.
Osman added that they collect abandoned banana plants from the farmers. This main raw material does not cost them.
After pressing the banana plans with the machine, they wash it in water and dry it in the sun. Later, they boil the fibre with chemicals and dry it again. At last, they roll it with bobbins.
Five full-time female workers have been working on the project. Each worker is paid Tk 4,000 per month.
Shahed said they have prepared a huge quantity of thread. It will bring them prosperity. They will expand their business in future. Locals throng the plant to see the fibre making process as it is a new and uncommon business in the area.
Archana Das, a housewife, said that her husband is a barber. His income is very scanty. She works here from 8:00am to 5:00pm and earns Tk 4,000 per month which is sufficient for her family.
Another worker China Das said she works here and the amount adds to her family income.
Deputy Director Asgar Ali of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Jhenidah said it is an innovative venture. This is the first of its kind in Jhenidah.
"We welcome their efforts," he added.