Local economy

Vitality of Vietnamese banana fibers

Khai Thai agricultural service and trading cooperative in Phu Xuyen district, Hanoi is the first model in Vietnam to produce fibers from banana stalks for export.
Walking in the immense 100-hectare banana gardens in the areas of Khai Thai, Hong Thai, Nam Tien and Van Nghe communes, we cannot help but be impressed with what the banana trees bring to this land.

The banana stalks, after being harvested, will create a large amount of biomass, becoming a waste that burdens the environment as well as a financial burden for the gardeners in cleaning and disposing of banana stalks.

The immense banana gardens in Khai Thai.

Taking the inside of the banana peels. 

Drying banana fibers in the sunshine. 

Making a rope from banana fibers.

Members of Khai Thai cooperative are making products from banana fibers. 

The process of making a hammock from banana fibers.

Making mats from banana fibers.

Completing the process of knitting baskets made from banana fibers. 

Making a dish washing tool from banana fibers. 

Because of this problem, Musa Pacta One Member Limited Company is the first enterprise in Vietnam to use banana stalks to form banana fibers, opening up an optimal solution for local banana cultivation. As a local, Nguyen Duc Tuan has invested in factories and equipment and has created Khai Thai agricultural service and trading cooperative with the desire to turn banana stalks into products that support many people.

Raw banana fiber can be used to make handicrafts and paper. Banana fiber is lighter than bamboo fiber and has high water resistance, so it can make longer lasting products.

Vietnam currently has about 150,000 hectares of bananas for fruit. It is estimated that it can provide 200,000 tons/year of fiber which will bring in revenues of about 700 million US dollars/year.

Khai Thai cooperative also signed a cooperation contract with GMF Precision Mechanical Company and Musa Pacta to do research and develop equipment for the banana fiber industry in Vietnam.

From this cooperation process, GMF and Musa Pacta have in turn introduced to the market a series of machines for the banana fiber industry such as a banana fiber thresher, banana stalk slitter, pulp presser, mold press machine and fiber cleaning machine. Musa Pacta will buy all of the output of products for the cooperative.

Going into the banana thresher factory, we found women swiftly putting each bunch of bananas into the thresher machine. Soon the drying rigs were full of golden banana fibers dangling in the wind. The juice from the banana stem is combined with ripe bananas brewed by biological enzymes to make nutritional water used for irrigating vegetables and fruits. The stalk is composted into microbiological fertilizer which has many micronutrients and is very friendly to the environment.

Nguyen Duc Tuan, Chairman of Khai Thai cooperative, said, "The cooperative is expanding its production facilities in the whole district and expanding raw material areas with the goal of exporting 3,000 tons of fiber and banana fiber products per year".

Handmade products from banana fibers:

The Center for Research and Technology Transfer (CRTT) of the Ministry of Science and Technology has come to the cooperative to learn about this technology, with the desire to disseminate the technique of making banana fibers to farmers nationwide. Le Mong Lam, CRTT Deputy Director said, "The Ministry of Science and Technology will help Khai Thai cooperative bring the technique of making banana fibers to banana growing areas in 63 provinces across Vietnam".
Story: Bich Van  -  Photos: Thanh Giang

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