I first discovered the Eco Green Unit when researching the source of raw banana fibres in India, and the scope of this industry.
Tamil Nadu is one of the largest banana growing State’s in India, so it was exciting to see that the Ministry of Agriculture and the Indian Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi ‘s Make In India project had worked with the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University to create an entire Unit to implement their “Wealth From Waste” philosophy.
The Eco Green Unit’s call to arms is being an “eco-friendly solution to the people of India”, and is an important response to the fact that currently only 10% of the banana plant stem waste is re-purposed following a banana crop harvest.
And this is mind blowing when you see just how beautiful the textiles are that come from this so-called “waste” product. Couple that with the fact that these textile plant fibres have not required any excess water just for their growth, as it’s originally a food crop.
After the harvest, typically a banana farmer will pay large sums of money to have the Pseudo stems removed, and in many cases this disposal includes the “waste” being burnt, which adds to the local air pollution.
Following conversations with the Eco Green Unit’s Project Director, Mr SK Babu, it became obvious to me that this was where I wanted to start, I want to help develop an entirely new industry for Banana Sylk and support the banana farming communities by starting at the supply chain’s source.
STSC’s Banana Sylk makers in Gujarat say that they have the most talented handloom artisans who are extremely skilled and knowledgeable in using banana fibres, however they are rarely asked to weave with it.
STSC is determined to change that by boosting the entire supply chain and help develop a large industry for this gorgeous silk-grade textile. Established in 1998, the Eco Green Unit started way ahead of the competition in being able to provide quality products and services because of the support of the Tami Nadu Agriculture University. It works as an independent Proprietorship firm with their operational head near the University in Coimbatore.
As a supported company, the Unit focuses on manufacturing, supplying, retailing and wholesaling a wide range of machines used for raw fibres including the Banana Thread Twisting Machine, the Banana Fibre Extractor, and disposable Plate and Cup Making machines, plus the Areca Leaf Plate Machine. As the manufacturer, the Unit also manages the Installation and Maintenance Services.
Sourcing from locally grown crops, they use areca leaf, banana stem, coconut coir, sisal, pineapple leaves and jute. STSC use the Pseudo stem fibres from the banana plant for textiles, and the plant’s leaves are used to make Bio plates for serving food in homes and at functions.
The Unit supports communities to purchase machines through No-Interest Loans via recommended banking schemes plus subsidies from the Federal Government’s Make In India Project. Entire finance plans and projections are offered so farmers know the entire breakdown before investing.
Project breakdowns are very detailed and include raw material requirements, labour, packing, plus transport costs, and even power usage projections. They provide projected output and earning capabilities by recommending a selling price plus per day net profit breakdowns and they also offer a guarantee program to Buy Back End Products.
With an abundance of raw materials, the Unit continues their support by supplying raw materials through the Natural Fibre Trust plus marketing help to buyers in Azapuza, Cochin plus the Coir Board, Government of India.
Because the machines are so easy to use, they have also paid special focus on encouraging women to work and invest in the industry, especially rural women and farming communities for income generation activities, particularly from banana plants.
The Unit also supports craft making businesses including Banana Fibre Craft, Banana Fibre Mat Weaving looms and Coir Pot Making Machinery. The Unit states that their focus is on improving their health and environment and ultimately improving communities’ overall quality of life through skills training, employment and income.
Helping at the source is also what is important to me, so I’ve chosen to donate $5 of every sale through STSC and EMBROID to the Eco Green Unit. My goal is to purchase, and then keep gifting both a machine and the required training, to farming families once we have achieved the required amount each time.
As a supporter, you can also lend a hand by either buying products from us or make a direct donation to the Anyone interested in purchasing machines can go direct to Mr Babu via email at Eco Green Unit’s “Wealth From Waste” project via the Paypal link.