Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development has launched a programme to establish cottage industries for the production of various items using fiber extracted from the stems of the Banana trees.
This programme which is sponsored by the UNDP and assisted by the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka will train potential small scale entrepreneurs on production of value added items. With the facilitation of the Indian High Commission two experts on the production of value added items from banana fiber are presently in Sri Lanka to discuss this.
Jaffna, Ampara, and Ratnapura districts have been selected to implement these projects in the initial stage and it is also envisaged to expand this programme to other districts later.
According to the Ministry, already about 150 persons have applied from Jaffna and small groups will be trained by Indian Experts. The initial trainees will then provide training to others.
Ministry will take steps to link this programme as part of the One Million Domestic Unit National Development programme “Divi Neguma” and help strengthen the economic standards of these industrialists. The programme would also help to produce many products which would attract the fast growing tourist industry.
Paper products, wall hangings, utility items, brushes, fabrics and even laminated roofing material can be made using the banana fiber. Shawls, handicraft items, fibers, door mats, souvenirs will be made exclusively using banana fiber.
There are over 52,000 hectares of banana cultivation in Sri Lanka on a commercial scale in addition to the small scale household plantations.