BANANA FIBER-MAKING INDUSTRY: An innovation introduced by soldiers in New Bataan, Compostela Valley

Voluminous amount of banana stalks in banana plantations are normally left to the elements to rot and be wasted after the fruits are harvested.  Their disposal in an added burden and entails additional operations cost.

But this is no longer the case in New Bataan, Compostela Valley. Soldiers under the 66th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army have found a new innovation to make use of these banana stalks that are already considered wastes.

Banana trunks are now turned into banana fibers, which is very in demand nowadays abroad especially in Japan. Banana fibers have various uses — from fashion designing, handicrafts, paper making, among others.

The idea of starting the banana fiber-making industry stemmed from conceptualizing on giving livelihood project for the people in New Bataan.

Major. Gen. Jorge Segovia, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, and 66th IB commander Lt. Col. Antonino Florendo met with officials of the AZTROPEX, an international exporter of banana products, to come up with a livelihood project.

As they agreed to embark on banana fiber-making industry, Aztropex conducted a one-day Banana Fiber Production Seminar on October 18, 2010 at the Executive Building of New Bataan which was attended by the soldiers, local government unit including officials from 15 barangays of New Bataan.

Florendo said this livelihood project is intended for the Peace and Development Volunteers as beneficiaries.

As early as this year, the banana fiber industry of PDVs earned 1,333 dollars equivalent to P60,000 as proceeds of its first exportation to Japan.

This is only their initial export since they are now in a full-blast of operation after fixing the mechanical trouble of the two machines  and the establishment of a bigger stock room.

Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy and New Bataan Mayor Lorenzo Balbin were all praises for the military-initiated banana fiber-making industry and committed full support to the project. They expressed hope that such livelihood project will be emulated by other municipalities.

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