Farmer turns banana waste into ropes

When P M Murugesan decided to discontinue his education to join his father’s farming business, he had many ideas in mind. In particular, he wanted to work with the banana plant, being well aware that though farmers end up burning tonnes of banana waste, there’s a utility to each part of the crop. 

In 2008, he started thinking of ways to make products out of banana waste. He found the idea of making ropes interesting. 

“The idea struck me when I saw banana threads being used to thread flowers for garlands. I used the machine that turns coconut husk into a rope as the base and modified it to work well for processing banana fibre,” says the innovator.

He patented the machine by investing Rs 1.5 lakh and decided to make items like baskets, bags and mats using the ropes. After a lot of trial and error, he came up with a machine that produces an average of 15,000 metres in a day and needs just four people to work.

“We started with five people, which grew to 10, then 20, and today, we employ more than 350 people, many of whom are women,” says Murugesan, the founder of M S Ropes Production Center in Madurai.

The venture processes over 500 tonnes of banana waste and earns about Rs 1.5 crore annually. The products made out of the ropes are exported to foreign countries including Malaysia, Singapore, France and the Netherlands.

The story has been extracted from:

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