OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

ECO BANANA STEM PAPER

To maximize the returns of the small holder farmers and reduce agricultural waste.

Photo of Nickly Kipkorir

Written by

EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

our idea is about using banana stems to get the fibers which will be used to make papers,boards,sanitary towels and bags. This idea will help small holder farmers to increase income,create job opportunities, gender empowerment save the environment since the paper industry is a great threat to the forest and trees. our project focus on banana stems because: (a) Banana stem is a cheapest and easily available raw material as a source of making paper pulp for the production of various types of paper.The process of making pulp is economically violable. (b) The making of paper is handmade. Sun ray is used for drying operation of paper mat. So energy is consumed from nature and according to economic standpoint it is profitable. (c) Strength and quality (brightness, formation, softness, smoothness) of the Paper produced in this process is marketable. (d) The Process cost is very low. This will also create the price of the banana stem lower and thus competitive in the market. On partnerships we work with organization supporting woman and girls to support the production of sanitary towels, pitch to potential investors, we will also investment in our business. Our costs will go to machines, marketing, utilities and human resource. Revenue will come from the sales of our products and some donations. Our value proposition is to reduce waste, increase incomes to smallholder farmers, create employment gender empowerment and make profits

WHO BENEFITS?

Beneficiaries of this project are farmers because they will have increase their incomes. it will also have an impact to the economy since it will create employment to the rural people and reduce deforestation and pollution because this project will demand more bananas and reduce demand for trees.

WHERE WILL YOUR IDEA BE IMPLEMENTED?

This project will be implemented in kenya.

ARE YOU IMPLEMENTING IN AN ELIGIBLE COUNTRY?

  • Yes

EXPERTISE IN SECTOR

  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year

EXPERIENCE IN IMPLEMENTATION COUNTRY(IES)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU!

Lagran group limited is an agricultural company using innovation and technology to provide services in irrigation, greenhouse, events, farm management, training, agro-waste management, value addition and other agricultural related support service.

IS THIS IDEA NEW FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION?

Its a new idea but in line with our objective of fostering sustainable agriculture as one way to mitigate climate change, helping small holder farmers reduce post harvest loses and increase incomes. we conduct innovative research geared towards finding practicable and viable solution's to the challenges faced by small holder farmers in Kenya and the results provide possible responses to the world wide challenges of sustainable development in agriculture. we have a long history on research of banana production with an aim to reduce the environmental impact of the production and maximize the returns , in the early years we have innovated solid waste recycling and management in the banana history and more recently we have been doing a lot of work in reduction of chemical use in commercial banana production and with this idea we have finalized on a more sustainable model of using the final waste product of the banana-stalks into valuable products

HOW IS YOUR IDEA UNIQUE?

Its a simple technology and environmental friendly because each ton of banana paper saves between 17 and 20 tree and 3 cubic yards of land-fields space and results to 74 % less air pollution and 35 % less water pollution than tree paper. It uses less energy and water than the normal paper and soft boards industries. Thus producing a unique product with special physical properties. It is resistant to fire,water repellent, durable and efficient whats more is that its half the cost of our competitors products . The development of this product involves smallholder farmers who have no way to dispose banana stalks with our idea they can now increase Income and create more employment opportunities in their fibre extraction sheds. The social responsibility of this idea is the production of sanitary towels which rural woman and school girls will be trained on how to make them at home or school and use them because the current products are expensive and forcing them to use crude ways and materials,our product will empower them to fully focus on their activities and development. Our waste materials will be turned into bio-char to make briquettes used in heating and cooking.

WHO WILL IMPLEMENT THIS IDEA?

we are two partners whom we develop the idea and with our passion, skills and will we will be able to implement our idea as we have done to others in the past. we have divided responsibilities according to our areas of professionalism into; technical and business departments. The technical department covers the production of the products and business department covers human resources, marketing and corporate relations.

HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BECAUSE OF BENEFICIARY FEEDBACK?

It has not changed our idea instead its giving us an indication that we had covered all the Nitty-gritties of the research and feasibility of our idea.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS IDEA?

1) How soon can we get partners or investors or resources to support us implement our idea to reality ? 2) How soon can we get donors to support our social responsibility to get necessary resources to train woman and girls on how to make sanitary towels using banana stalk fibre and paper?

WHY DO YOU THINK THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HASN'T BEEN SOLVED YET?

our idea starts with the smallholder farmers and will bring a solution to their low incomes and too much agricultural waste. As at this era most banana stalks are left rotting in the farms once the fruits are harvested. yet this farmers could have sold and earn extra income. this product-banana stem will be used to make several products during the process several people will be employed in the fibre extraction units,weaving and making sanitary towels creating job opportunities which is a solution to the current lack of employment. the sanitary towels will help woman and girls in low income areas.this towels are crucial to their comfort and empowerment but at the moment they are expensive.

WHAT WOULD YOU ULTIMATELY LIKE TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS IDEA? WHAT IS YOUR NEXT STEP TO GET THERE?

I will be satisfied when i will see smallholder farmers earn more incomes, reduce agricultural waste and create employment to the special groups in the villages: the youth and woman.I will be happy to see rural woman and girls make sanitary towels using banana fibre for them to feel comfortable at school or work hence empowered to equaly participate in building our nation.I have contributed some of my resources,made proposals to donors and now starting crowdfunding to bring this idea to reality

MEMBERS OF MY TEAM HAVE BEEN WORKING TOGETHER FOR:

  • More than a year

MY INTENDED BENEFICIARIES ARE:

  • Within in 500 km of where our team does most of its work

MY ORGANIZATION'S OPERATING BUDGET FOR 2015 WAS:

  • Under $100,000


Paper,growing medium  & Boards from Banana Stem Waste                 

In this modern age, the consumption of paper and boards has increased tremendously. Conventionally, paper is manufactured from cellulosic materials like bamboo, hardwood, cotton rags, etc. The ever-increasing demand, especially of the advanced countries has resulted in continued denudation of forests causing severe environmental imbalances and thus climate change. In this context, cellulose technologists are searching for alternative raw materials

Agricultural residues of non-woody nature like cotton stalks, wheat straw, rice straw, sorghum stalks, hemp, jute, etc., are possible raw materials which could be used for paper and board making. However, all these require to be digested at high temperature and pressure, employing energy consumptive and costly processes. Thus the search for other raw materials and cost- effective processes continues.

One of the materials we found to be promising was banana stem waste, which is a very good source of cellulose. Banana production in Kenya is the high, and the area under its cultivation is majorly by small holder farmers, among all fruit crops grown in kenya. About 80% of residue is produced from this huge production, all of which goes waste due to non-availability of suitable technology for its commercial utilization. Taking into consideration the large availability of banana stem waste in the country ( kisii and meru regions), as an  eco-technology group for sustainable development, we took up the challenge to  produce of boards and thicker varieties of paper from this agro-waste.

A simple technology had been evolved, earlier by Japanese. We have further improved at to suit the Kenya environment. The technology for soft board has now been converted to hard board, which involves the following processes.

  • Chopping: Banana stem waste, thrown away by farmers after harvesting of fruits, is procured as raw material. The stems are chopped into small pieces of 3-4” size by a woman worker,  usually at a rate of about 100 kg material per day. This can be done either at the farm itself or at the production unit.
  • Cold digestion: The material is soaked in 1-2% NaOH for appropriate period. The alkali loosens the ligno-cellulosic bonds, thereby softening the material.
  • Washing: The softened material is transferred to net baskets and washed with water to remove the black liquor of sodium lignite and unused alkali.
  • Beating: The washed material is then subjected to beating in a Hollander beater. Two actions take place here:(a) initial cutting of the material into small pieces, and (b) separation of fibre from the non-cellulosic material. This is followed by a wet beating. In this process, internal fibrillation of the fibres takes place. A period of three to four hours of beating is required for a getting good quality pulp. Depending upon the quality of boards to be produced, appropriate amount of fillers, loading material or chemicals are used during wet beating. For production of hard  boards, suitable quantity of resins like urea formaldehyde and phenol formaldehyde are added in the beater itself while maintaining pH.
  • Storage: After completion of beating process, the pulp is delivered to a storage tank located constructed close to the beater.
  • Board-making: Pulp from storage tank is manually lifted in a bucket and deposited in specifically fabricated wooden moulds. They are of two sizes: 26”x39” and 26”x52”. Depending on the thickness required, appropriate quantity of pulp is poured in the mould and pressed to remove excess water, using either a screw press or hydraulic press. The maximum water content desirable at wet conditions is about 60%.
  • Drying: The wet boards are then allowed to dry under direct sun on bamboo frames specially made for this purpose. About 90-95% moisture gets removed. There are soft boards.
  • Hot Hydraulic Press Treatment: To produce hard boards, these soft boards are further pressed in a hot hydraulic press at optimized temperature and pressure. The time interval depends on the thickness required.
  • Post-pressing: During the process of drying, the boards get deformed or warped. To make them flat, several boards are stacked together and pressed in a screw press for 2-3 hours.
  • Trimming: The well-pressed boards are then cut into standard sizes of 24”x24”, 24”x36” and 24”x48” and stacked for marketing.

Banana board

 This is a Potential substitute for wood products like plywood and medium density boards. Various uses include:

  • Acoustic panels: The noise retention coefficient of banana boards is far better than conventional boards. At present, acoustic panels available in the market costs higher than Boards made from banana stem.
  • Partition walls and other utilities: The insulating properties of these boards are found to be very good. These boards may be used for partition walls, false ceilings and as insulating

panels.

  • Packing material: Boxes made from these boards can be used for transport of fruits and other materials to the local markets or export hence reducing costs incurred by farmers.
  • Files and cover paper: Thicker varieties of banana paper can be used for making files, covers and packing materials.
  • Expansion joint pads: Asphalted banana boards can also be used as expansion joint

pads in the construction of bridges. These are much cheaper than conventional ones available in the market.

Banana paper

This will be used to make writing and printing materials,  the heavy gauge papers is suitable for artistic work, paper bags, sanitary towels and book covers.

Fresh stems

They are used as growing mediums in dry areas since they store a lot of water and thus suitable for farming.

It can also be used in urban and peri urban farming systems where soil is not available and water costs are higher.

Small holder farmers will be able to increase their returns from selling these products and create employment especially to the special groups in the society the youths and the women.

Given the large availability of banana waste and the environmental cost of conventional paper production, there is urgent need for addressing these issues in order to optimize this technology package.

Lagran group is an agricultural company.the department on research and sustainable programs has specialized personnel in technical and mechanical operation skills necessary in this project.
As the developers of this idea we will participate daily in the project to ensure that all tasks are accomplished and provide the necessary facilitation. Our achievement is to see our idea working and bring the impact.
Being in the agriculture sector selling products and services to farmers have confidence in us. Because it will help them increase incomes by using what is commonly regarded is waste. We discovered this idea, we have designed it, and we have tested by doing several visits to farmers which made us refine our idea to incorporate all the suggestions given by the farmers. Like they would prefer to use fibre extraction machines than hand extraction and finally we have tried a pilot project to see and demonstrate how our model will be when our idea will be during implementation. 
We developed our idea out of need to: increase, the returns of smallholder farmers, secondly involve them and industry players-our potential clients in solving climate change and develop an idea with solution to social needs of the society in our case provides employment and empower the woman and girls by making them comfortable and happy with our sanitary towels. And this made us to know who the beneficiaries of our idea are and exactly what they need. During this entire test we made several samples which we used them during market research and analysis which we tested the use of this products before the potential customers during this visits to them, public demos of our products, in fact they were asking how soon will they have the products available. 
we will need to train our staff to have a clear understanding on the process and the objectives of the business so that it is easy for all of us to work for a common goal. We will do this by doing capacity building . We also need to train woman and girls on how to prepare sanitary towels. We will do this by selecting them in groups and send our staff to go and train them. Kenya is big so we have segmented our market and our production region so that we are able to handle a specific region and able to supply some specific clients as we increase our production capacity and so clients supplies. our business involves production of banana fibre which will be used to make mats, baskets and ropes; we will also produce paper which will be used to make artistic papers, file covers, book covers, paper bags, sanitary towels and boxes. When paper and fibre are mixed we will make soft boards and acoustic panels used in construction sectors. This products will demand more bananas and alternatively wheat,rice and bearly straws saving trees, we have segmented our markets into three but we will start with what we are able to serve. Our channels : marketing channels where we will visit clients, promotion and demos in public, community outreach and social media. And on logistics channels we will deliver the products to clients, clients picking from our production unit and selling to retailers like bookshops and supermarkets. Our products are affordable and of unique quality since we use locally available materials so this will give us a competitive advantage on cost.
On partnerships we work with organization supporting woman and girls to support the production of sanitary towels, pitch to potential investors, we will also investment in our business. Our costs will go to machines, marketing, utilities and human resource. And our revenue will come from the sales of our products and some donations. Our value proposition is to reduce waste, increase incomes to smallholder farmers, create employment, gender empowerment and make profits
The project can be financed by us investing in the business, investors and donors.
We have involved the private sector a crucial sector in our country and all they are fostering is sustainability and good value chain of the idea. 
We have done a test to all our products and our paper will compete with the tree paper because banana tree paper is strong, durable, low flammability, high tolerance to moisture outweighing the current tree paper. The technology involved is simple thus lowering the cost of production directly impacting the cost of the products thus they will be affordable than the current tree paper.
We segmented our market and we will focus on the local market specifically Nairobi. During our test phase of our products after developing samples we did market surveys and analysis physically by involving our potential clients, government agencies on standards and quality regulations. We will sell our paper to drawing artists, printing firms, fast food restaurants and groceries to pack food, fibre to weavers, sanitary towels to woman and girls. The Biochar to homes and industries for heating. We will sell direct to clients, retail shops and book stores










17 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Hi Nickly,

The Amplify team and our experts have some feedback for you:

It's great that two of you will be working together to bring this idea to life. How much time do you anticipate having to devote to this project? Are there any other people that will help?

What gives you confidence that farmers will have the time and interest in participating in this specific idea? Can you tell us more about how you have gotten information about the needs of your beneficiaries?

Are you able to share more details about how this idea would work? For example, what would the service model be? Would people need to be trained? How? 

Do you have a business model for how this could work? For example, how will this idea be financed, have you engaged the private sector? If so, what feedback have you been given? 

On a similar note, it is unclear whether there is a market for this product and how it can compete with traditional paper products. Is your market for the product local, national, international? What market analysis and testing has been undertaken? Where will it be sold, through what type of outlets?

Looking forward to learning more! 

Spam
Photo of Nickly Kipkorir
Team

Lagran group is an agricultural company.the department on research and sustainable programs has specialized personnel in technical and mechanical operation skills necessary in this project.
As the developers of this idea we will participate daily in the project to ensure that all tasks are accomplished and provide the necessary facilitation. Our achievement is to see our idea working and bring the impact.
Being in the agriculture sector selling products and services to farmers have confidence in us. Because it will help them increase incomes by using what is commonly regarded is waste. We discovered this idea, we have designed it, and we have tested by doing several visits to farmers which made us refine our idea to incorporate all the suggestions given by the farmers. Like they would prefer to use fibre extraction machines than hand extraction and finally we have tried a pilot project to see and demonstrate how our model will be when our idea will be during implementation.
We developed our idea out of need to: increase, the returns of smallholder farmers, secondly involve them and industry players-our potential clients in solving climate change and develop an idea with solution to social needs of the society in our case provides employment and empower the woman and girls by making them comfortable and happy with our sanitary towels. And this made us to know who the beneficiaries of our idea are and exactly what they need. During this entire test we made several samples which we used them during market research and analysis which we tested the use of this products before the potential customers during this visits to them, public demos of our products, in fact they were asking how soon will they have the products available.
we will need to train our staff to have a clear understanding on the process and the objectives of the business so that it is easy for all of us to work for a common goal. We will do this by doing capacity building . We also need to train woman and girls on how to prepare sanitary towels. We will do this by selecting them in groups and send our staff to go and train them. Kenya is big so we have segmented our market and our production region so that we are able to handle a specific region and able to supply some specific clients as we increase our production capacity and so clients supplies. our business involves production of banana fibre which will be used to make mats, baskets and ropes; we will also produce paper which will be used to make artistic papers, file covers, book covers, paper bags, sanitary towels and boxes. When paper and fibre are mixed we will make soft boards and acoustic panels used in construction sectors. This products will demand more bananas and alternatively wheat,rice and bearly straws saving trees, we have segmented our markets into three but we will start with what we are able to serve. Our channels : marketing channels where we will visit clients, promotion and demos in public, community outreach and social media. And on logistics channels we will deliver the products to clients, clients picking from our production unit and selling to retailers like bookshops and supermarkets. Our products are affordable and of unique quality since we use locally available materials so this will give us a competitive advantage on cost.
On partnerships we work with organization supporting woman and girls to support the production of sanitary towels, pitch to potential investors, we will also investment in our business. Our costs will go to machines, marketing, utilities and human resource. And our revenue will come from the sales of our products and some donations. Our value proposition is to reduce waste, increase incomes to smallholder farmers, create employment, gender empowerment and make profits
The project can be financed by us investing in the business, investors and donors.
We have involved the private sector a crucial sector in our country and all they are fostering is sustainability and good value chain of the idea.
We have done a test to all our products and our paper will compete with the tree paper because banana tree paper is strong, durable, low flammability, high tolerance to moisture outweighing the current tree paper. The technology involved is simple thus lowering the cost of production directly impacting the cost of the products thus they will be affordable than the current tree paper.
We segmented our market and we will focus on the local market specifically Nairobi. During our test phase of our products after developing samples we did market surveys and analysis physically by involving our potential clients, government agencies on standards and quality regulations. We will sell our paper to drawing artists, printing firms, fast food restaurants and groceries to pack food, fibre to weavers, sanitary towels to woman and girls. The Biochar to homes and industries for heating. We will sell direct to clients, retail shops and book stores

Spam
Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Hi Nickly - thanks so much for this detailed response! 

Spam
Photo of Nickly Kipkorir
Team

chioma thank you. it was a good question.

Spam
Photo of Nickly Kipkorir
Team

chioma check some of our products samples at the moment http://nicklykipkorir.blogspot.co.ke/2016/06/eco-banana-stem-paper-products.html

Spam
Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Hi Nickly, thanks so much for sharing! You are selling some of those products now?

Spam
Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Oh, never mind, I see in another comment that you are! 

Spam
Photo of Nickly Kipkorir
Team

No, we are not selling we only made samples because its a new idea people could not accept that this products can be made from banana, so samples were crucial during our market surveys and our test period.
we also need some machines to enable us produce more per unit time so that is what we are working on now.

View all comments