The international textile sector meets its 20 per cent fibre need from banana peels and other alternatives like corn fibre, while this important raw material is burnt in Pakistan said Textile Institute of Pakistan Dean Dr Abdul Jabbar.
The agricultural experts, economists, progressive farmers, and researchers have called for more investment by alternative sources like banana to boost the yield of cotton as the commodity was not meeting the country’s need for textile raw materials.
They said this while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the fifth annual Banana Festival 2023, organised by the Sindh Agriculture University (SAU) in collaboration with Agri-Tourism Development Corporation, Tech-Saeein, Mishal, PAR, MH Panhwer Farms, Durrani Farms, and FAO on Monday.
They said that agriculture output was on the decline due to lack of investment by the industry. For over a century, agriculture is the only sector in the country in which the rate of commodities is set by the commission agent instead of the farmer.
Addressing the occasion SAU Vice Chancellor Dr Fateh Marri said that more than 3.5 million tons of valuable banana waste is burnt every year, while it can create many by-products including fibre, compost fertiliser, confectionery, and cosmetics.
He suggested that a Banana Research Group be formed comprising farmers, the public, private, and industrial sectors, and research institutes, while we will join as a member of the World Banana Forum in the future.
Shah Abdul Latif University (SALU) Khairpur Mirs VC Dr Khalil Ahmed Ibupoto said that if SALU, SAU, and other research institutes establish a large tissue culture lab for resistant plants of banana, date palm, and other fruits, “we can meet the existing demand for disease-free tissue culture plants.”
University of Sufism and Modern Sciences Bhit Shah Vice Chancellor Dr Parveen Munshi said that in the era of commercialisation, there is a huge scope for the value chain in agriculture, like mangoes, banana value chain and marketing needs attention.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th2023.