The SME Mauritius Ltd is conducting a two-week hands-on skills training, from the 23 April to 10th May 2019, under the Foreign Technical Expertise Scheme (FTES) in Banana fibre extraction and production of handicraft products using waste banana pseudo-stems in Mauritius. The FTES is operational since the beginning of this year with the objective to benefit the local craft sector to gain new and revamp product range, design and quality.
In this context, the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, conducted a site visit, today, at the SME Mauritius Business Development and Facilitation Centre, in Coromandel to take stock of the progress achieved in banana fibre projects. The resource persons are experts from TEXFAD, a non-for profit Vocational Business Incubator that supports youths and women in Uganda to develop and commercialise innovations in vocational training.
The Minister expressed his satisfaction of the progress achieved so far by the trainees. Mauritius, he said, produces over 10,000 tones of banana annually and added that after harvesting, huge amounts of banana pseudo-stems are dumped as waste causing environmental hazards.
The wasted banana stem, he pointed out, can, thus be used to produce sustainable raw materials for the production of commercially viable products with a huge impact on environment, economy and society. The artisanal products made out of banana fibre, can be positioned as a new niche market among the local and international markets, he added. He, therefore, stressed on the need to explore new possibilities of the recycling of banana plantsso as to make effective use of it.
He also indicated that the SME Mauritius Ltd is providing a number of schemes and facilities in order to further boost the SME sector and promote viable business ideas. He urged entrepreneurs to seek guidance from the SME Mauritius Ltd and to avail themselves of the facilities put in place for business start-ups as well as to improve their businesses.
About the training
Around 15 small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) identified by SME Mauritius Ltd are being trained in extraction of banana fibre using machine and hand method. Two categories of SMEs have been selected namely SMEs dealing in handicrafts production and those dealing in hand weaving. The training will equip the participants with competences to extract banana fibre from a banana stem, prepare fibres and produce both functional and decorative products with high market value.