Agri-tech startup Greenikk, based in Thiruvananthapuram, claims to be India’s first full-stack banana supply chain and has established a waste-to-value system to improve the nation’s banana fibre-based sector by supplying entrepreneurs and craftspeople with constant supplies of banana stem fibre for use in creating high-value goods for domestic and international markets. Greenikk has already made plans as part of the effort to supply banana fibre to markets in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala as well as organising training for small-scale entrepreneurs throughout the three southern states.
Value-added goods are in high demand in international marketplaces like the US, Spain, and France
The Greenikk firm is concentrating on a number of goods, including tableware, fruit baskets, flower vases, serving trays, lamps, and wall decor, that are made of banana fibre. These items include tote bags, handbags, mats, tea coasters, clutches, and handbags. Value-added goods are in high demand in international marketplaces like the US, Spain, and France. According to the Kerala tech duo who founded this startup, by developing this waste-to-value chain in the integrated banana ecosystem, our focus is on comprehending the fundamental issues in the market and identifying workable solutions that would be advantageous to a broad range of crafts and industries using banana fibre.
They claimed that one of the biggest obstacles to the profitable production of value-added goods is the absence of an adequate supply of raw materials for mechanised banana fibre processing. Making the unit profitable with one or two machines is not possible unless there is a sufficient supply of raw material; for example, to extract 7 kilogrammes of fibre, 70 to 80 banana stems must be processed daily.
Each unit prefers a distinct quality of fibre based on its colour, tensile strength, and cellulose contents
Each unit prefers a distinct quality of fibre based on its colour, tensile strength, and cellulose content, which is caused by a lack of quality standards and specifications. Another problem the industry faces is a lack of a suitable sales channel and external assistance for design and training, which forces fibre units to close. Due to a lack of raw materials, a factory in Ernakulam that had been producing handbags out of banana fibre for the previous 40 years had to cease operations.
The Greenikk firm, which collaborates with key market players like Reshamandi and Extra Weave, has attempted to address these issues by developing a model at its research and development facility in Theni, Tamil Nadu, a significant banana-producing region in south India. The model’s core tenet is to maximise fibre output while reducing production expenses.