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24th May - Banana Waste Utilisation

24th May 2018

We set off early in the morning to Baroda, where we first went to meet Mr Kalidas Movalia, a former marketing agent who worked with GSFC (Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited) He explained a little bit about how marketing of fertilizers is done, and about what the difference between organic and inorganic farming is. He then directed us to GSFC's tissue culture centre. After that, we went to meet some banana farmers

Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemical Limited

We met the Ms. Shivani Hora, Biotechnologist at GSFC. She explained the production of “Banana Plant” by way of “Tissue Culture.”

What is actually tissue culture and how it helping the farmer on the field?

The tissue culture is the process to extract the tissue from the good plant which is also considered as a kind of “Clone Farming.” This help the farmer to get the output as similar as the plant from which that tissue belongs i.e. duration of fruit growth, the quality of the fruit, and it holds the similarity as the mother plant from which the tissue extracted that is known as “Sucker.”

How tissue grows the plant?

The tissue is Sucker, for this it requires the base of the plant. The tissue should be cut in the cross sectional ways. After 25 days it will appears in the form of “Indution.” This will put in the artificial sunlight and wind, to provide them surrounding which that will have to surround in future. The induction will put in the laboratory for around 90 to 120 days. Then it will send it to net house after that green house.

Which part of the year does the sappling or seadling?

In the month of June the plant will give the bunches of banana. In the month of May the remove the bunches of the banana and extract the succer in the rainy season or after rainy season. If they want to keep the plant then they will continue to keep the plant either they will uproot the plant.

What were the earlier practices for growing the banana?

Earlier the banana contains the seeds which will sow in the field but these were of different varieties and sizes. So the after the lot of research they came up with an idea of tissue culture farming. Currently there is a seedless banana.

What are the content used for the sucker?

They put few chemical i.e. organic and inorganic (calicum phosphade, urea and etc) in the water then agar(Gelly kind of powder) and then boil the water at 100 celcius so that the sucker can easily fits in the bottles and the consistency will be thick and put at the room temperature to cool it down and the agar converts into a gel.

Which season contains maximum waste of banana?

April to May/June there is a maximum waste generation from the banana plants.

Sejal Bhai Farm:

1. What is the life cycle of the banana tree?

The average lifespan is around 12-13 months. After I sow the seedlings, it takes about 9 months for them to mature into adult trees. After that, Banana looms start growing for about 2-3 months time.

2. What is the average size of the tree?

The average height of tree is 10-12 feet.

3. What variety do you grow?

I grow the Grand Naine variety on my farm.

4. What farming practices do you follow?

We have both organic and inorganic farms on my plantation. I do not use any types of chemicals in my organic farm. Each of my trees are spaced at a distance of 4 feet.

5. What problems do you face in farming?

Weeding in the organic farming is a very time-consuming process since we do not use chemical weedicides to kill them. We also have pigs who come into our farm and dig up the soil, causing the trees to overturn. Apart from that, in summer, the heat is too much and destroys our crops.

6. How do you currently dispose your tree waste?

We cut the banana stems at their base and then push the tree over so that it falls. After that we run over the stems using a small tractor with a rotary tiller attached to it. This chops the tree into small pieces and mixes it into the soil. If we have too many trees, we throw the excess stems onto the roadside.

i. What machinery do you use for this process?

We use a normal rougher, and for disposal, a rotary tiller which is attached to our small tractor.

ii. What problems do you face in disposing?

We cut a lot of trees at once, so disposing all of them is very hard.

iii. How many trees do you cut at once?

Around 500-600.

iv. What do you do after this?

We plant our next crop, which is potato plant.

7. Do you know that you can get fibres from banana stems? Do you know how to get them?

Yes, I do. We can get them by drying the stems in the sun, and then stretching the fired stems so that we can get the fibres out by hand. There is a farmer I know in Baroda who has machinery and uses that to get the fibres on a large-scale.

Ghyammsham Bhai Desai Farm:

(farmer who practices fibre extraction)

What machines do you use for fibre extraction?

I use raspoador machines, which I bought second-hand from Mumbai.

i. How many machines do you have?

I have 3 machines right now, but I have ordered 4 more which should be arriving soon

ii. What is the cost of these machines?

I bought them second-hand for about 70-80k.

2. What do you do with the scutcher waste that is generated from fibre extraction process?

We use this as fertiliser in our fields. We do not subject it to further processing to make other products.

3. We had heard that the market for this fibres is not very big. Do you agree? if so, why?

The quality of the fibres that we produce is of less quality than that produced in South India, where banana fibre extraction is more widely practiced. It has both high production and better quality.

i. Why is the quality here worse?

In South, the banana tree stems have a higher moisture content and the soil quality is better.

ii. How exactly do you compare and measure the quality of banana fibres?

The quality of a banana fibre is measured by the whiteness of the fibre and its smoothness.

iii. How does your fibre reach the market? Which industries use banana fibre?

I sell all my fibre to a broker or a middle man. He is the one who does all the dealings, and only he knows which markets buy it.

4. What is the main expenditure for the fibre extraction

The major part of expenditure is the labour cost and wages. Also, the cost of processing a single tree is around 22-25 rupees.

5. How much fibre is extracted from 1 tree?

Around 150 -200 grams of fibre is extracted.

6. What problems do you face in the extraction?

The lack of high quality machine is major problem faced by the farmer.

7. What amount of fibre is produced monthly

1200-1300 kg of fibre is produced.

8. Where do you store the fibre

They do not need high tech storage, so they can be kept anywhere.

9. Does anyone else you know follow this practice?

No. They are not interested.

i. Why?

Because they are not ready to invest so much in this. Also, you do not immediately get returns in this business.

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