Ugandan company to produce carpets, hair extensions with banana waste

Kampala: Reuters --------------- Kimani Muturi, TexFad Managing Director and founder, on Friday said the company is using natural banana fibre to produce environmentally friendly items such as carpets and biodegradable hair extensions.


Muturi said TexFad is experimenting with various uses of banana fibres, producing carpets and market-testing hair extension products.


According to him, Ugandans have always eaten a lot of bananas so it can extract even more value from overlooked parts of the crop.


Muturi said when farmers lop off bananas from the trees, they generally leave the bulky, bulbous trunks to decompose and waste away.


TexFad is extracting the fibres from parts of the trunks that farmers usually burn or throw away.


“When I looked around I saw that bananas grow abundantly in this country. We generate a lot of waste from the banana gardens.


“The hair extensions we are making are highly biodegradable. After using it our ladies will go and bury them in the soil and they will become manure for their vegetables.”


Muturi said that TexFad is also testing a process to make banana fibres as soft as cotton so they can be used to produce clothes.


He forecasted that TexFad would make 2,400 carpets this year, doubling 2020 output and boosting revenues.


The firm, which has 23 employees, made about $41,000 in sales in 2020, its best figures since launching in 2013.


The company expects to export carpets for the first time in June, to customers in the United States, Britain and Canada.


Muturi reckons that the light, organic material could replace some synthetic fibres and be used to make paper products like bank notes among a range of possible applications.


“Banana fibre is the fibre of the future,” he said.