NRCB hosts five day Training program for empowering women through Banana Fibre, craft and value addition during 08-12 January 2024

ICAR-NRCB organized a transformative five-day hands-on training initiative from January 8-12, 2024, centered on 'Utilization of banana sheath and its by-products for women empowerment' under the SCSP programme in Tamil Nadu. The primary goal was to empower underprivileged women economically by equipping them with skills to harness the potential of banana sheath for crafting diverse products such as baskets, mats, curtains, and cushions. This program also sought to broaden their horizons by exploring effective marketing strategies.
The training sessions featured contributions from accomplished entrepreneurs, with Mr. Babu from Eco Green, Coimbatore, leading hands-on sessions and sharing invaluable insights from his entrepreneurial journey. As part of the program, the participants had the opportunity to visit SS Natural Fibre Unit in Mohanur, where they engaged with Ms. Suganthi and her team to gain firsthand knowledge about skill development intricacies and market dynamics.
In the inaugural address, Dr. R. Selvarajan, the Director of ICAR-NRCB, emphasized the critical need to tap into banana biomass for enhancing farm income through value addition. He underscored the significance of addressing bio-waste generated post-harvest, comprising 45% pseudostem, 5% male flower, and approximately 12% rhizome. This training is exclusive for the women meeting the UN SDG goal of gender equality. He said after harvesting the bunch, one can earn an double the amount bunch sale by converting the leaf sheaths into fibre, centre core stem into juice, flower into pickle and thokku, the sap into liquid fertilizer and in this hands on training all these technologies shall be taught by our Scientists. In light of climate change, Dr. Selvarajan highlighted the tremendous export potential of products derived from natural fibers, urging trainees to collaborate in clusters to maximize profitability and enhance brand value. Furthermore, he emphasized the therapeutic value of the central core stem, particularly in the beverage market.
Dr. P. Suresh Kumar, Course Director, emphasized the necessity for a comprehensive approach in utilizing banana fiber, sculpture, sap, and central core stem to establish a sustainable business model. The course directors, Dr. K. N. Shiva, delved into discussions on value-added products like Banana central core stem juice and Banana flower stem and flower pickle, shedding light on their economic and market value.
Dr. C. Karpagam briefed participants on various central and state schemes available for entrepreneurs and start-ups, while Dr. M. Loganathan, the Nodal Officer of the program, highlighted government schemes tailored for women empowerment.
Expressing confidence in the transformative impact of the training, Ms. Ananthi, a development officer representing the trainees, anticipated that the acquired knowledge and technology would play a pivotal role in establishing sustainable enterprises and improving livelihoods through the value addition of banana by-products. To complement the theoretical aspects, Mr. K. Kamaraju, a senior technical officer from the Postharvest Technology Division of the institute, demonstrated a range of products, including stem and flower pickles, bakery items, juice extractions, and applications in textiles. NRCB's commitment to fostering entrepreneurship was evident in its provision of diverse training programs, consultancy services, and a robust agri-business incubation platform, all geared towards amplifying business opportunities in the agriculture sector.



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