Prospect of banana fiber in Bangladesh
Bangladesh has a glorious record in textile production. Muslin clothes were traded by the ancient Greeks and Romans from the region of what today is Bangladesh. Muslin was a cotton fabric. It was hand woven of hand spun yarn.
Fortunately, the past glory of textile sector has again been revived in Bangladesh in a new dimension in the shape of garment industry. This sector now accounts for about 75% of the national export earning.
Annual requirement of cotton in Bangladesh is 2.5 million bales. Local production of cotton is only about 0.1 million bales. Around 4-5% 0f the national requirement is fulfilled through local production, remaining 95-96% is fulfilled by importing raw cotton. The country spends about Tk 1200 core annually to import cotton.
There is an opportunity of fulfilling a part of the gap of raw fiber from extraction of banana fiber. This is at present neglected and wasted. There is about1% fiber in banana pseudo -stem. The length of ultimate banana fiber ranges from 0.25-1.30 cm and that of diameter 14 -50 microns . This fiber has tenacity 29.98 g/denier and moisture regain 13%. Banana fiber is composed of cellulose 53.52%, hemi-cellulose 13.90%, lignin 18.64% and pectin 3.10%.
The annual acreage of banana in Bangladesh is 133305 acres (53,970 ha). Average biomass of banana pseudo-stem is 70 tons /ha. Total production of biomass of banana pseudo-stem per year is 3777874 tons. Expected quantity of banana fiber per year in Bangladesh 37,778.74 tons (20,9,881 bales, 180kg=1 bale). Per hectare expected production of banana fiber 690 kg. Expected annual income by selling banana fiber @ US$ 2.5/Kg, US$ 9,44,46,850 (TK 724,40,73,395/ @ Tk 76.70/ US$).
Quantity of compost production after extraction of fiber from banana pseudo-stem per year 37,40,096 tons. Expected income by selling compost Tk 1496,03,84,000 @ Tk 4000 /ton.
Gross return by selling banana fiber and compost annually is Taka 2220,44,57,395. Banana fiber is used for yarn, fabric, apparel, handicraft, paper, currency note, security printing paper, craft paper, plywood, etc. The extraction of banana fiber will create new jobs in agriculture, small industry and business sectors.
Banana fiber is now commercially produced in Australia, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mauritius, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Vietnam. There is limited production of banana plant fiber in Central, North, and South America and the Caribbean with special mention of Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexicoss.
The brief introduction on banana fiber holds out one of the many untapped promises of Bangladesh. But to realize this potential will need committed effort for entrepreneurship and indigenous exercise. A sense of contribution for peoples’ purpose through research and development remains indispensable