An expert in agriculture, Mr Eteobong Amah, has harped on the benefits of Banana/Plantain stems value chain for wealth creation in the sector.
Amah, an agriprenuer, said this in an interview with newsmen on Monday in Lagos.
The expert said that the potentials of the Banana/Plantain stems are really under-explored as most people were unaware of it lucrativeness.
He said that it was necessary to explore the Banana/Plantain stem value chain so that people would no longer see these stems as waste but tap into their rich benefits.
“Banana/Plantain stem value chain is another potential huge industry that we can build in Nigeria through the processing of this currently largely wasted product.
“Banana/Plantain stem value-chain is an unexplored sector of agriculture that most people are unaware of and have not fully tapped into.
“The awareness level is currently at the infant stage, but we are looking at injecting funds to boost the value-chain and create wealth from these perceived waste product.”
“Nigeria ranks among the highest producers and consumers of plantain in the world, the Banana/Plantain stem/trunks can be recycled for our advantage.”
“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,” Amah said.
Amah said that Plantains multiplied by producing up to six young suckers per mature plant, which meant that Nigeria had the capacity to more than quadruple Plantain production every year.
In addition, he outlined the numerous by-products that can be produced from the Banana/Plantain stem value chain.
“The stems of plantain/Banana, when processed, can be made into high fibres which are useful for so many products.”
“Sacks, ropes, textiles, tents, screens, bags, canvas, covers, blankets and carpets (with wool), pop fibre, hair extensions and sanitary pad, can all be produced from Banana/Plantain stems.”
“This is a huge possibility that holds a sustainable way to raise the living standards of female children through empowerment and value creation.”
“It is another means of utilising waste to create highly demanded products for packaging, padding, disposable materials, even waterproof disposable materials when combined with Cassava starch.”
He said that the exploration of the Banana/Plantain stems value-chain could help boost the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), if driven successfully.
“The current production capacity for plantain by-products (such as leaves, rotten fruit, and stem) in Nigeria today, is estimated at about 16 metric tonnes per annum.”
“It has the capacity to create over 300,000 jobs just for processing banana stems, and add about one billion dollars 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,” he said.