Startup producing packaging bags from banana trunks lands support

(L-R) Thierry Henry, Nadine Ndahiro, Kevin Shema, and Arsene Gatera ,a group behind the initiative of transforming banana fibre into useful products. / File.

Young entrepreneurs in green growth from Rwanda-who make packaging bags from banana trunks- are among 15 teams from 12 countries around the world who have been selected by Global Green Growth Institute to benefit from entrepreneurship support.

The Rwandan entrepreneurs who founded the company dubbed “UMUTI Paper” include Nadine Ndahiro, Arsene Gatera, Irankunda Shema Thierry Henry and Kevin Shema.

 

UMUTI is a Green enterprise that uses banana and plantain trunks that are left over after harvest season to create eco-friendly paper packaging bags.

 

The selected startup went through a rigorous application process and were selected from over 150 prospective teams to participate among entrepreneurs in the green economy.

 

 They will be participating in twelve weeks of entrepreneurship programming to take their idea from concept to business plan for a solution that positively impacts the future of sustainable energy, sustainable landscapes, or green city development.

The Rwandan entrepreneurs’ business idea came after realizing the effects of human activities on climate change.

 “Over 400 million tonnes of paper we use for writing are produced annually, and 93 percent of them come from Timber, and continuing at this most likely rate, it will take less than a century to deplete the entire tropical forests, which accounts for a third of global oxygen production and serves as habitat to most of our wildlife species,” said the team in a statement.

While banana trunks are currently viewed as problematic waste with no other economically viable uses, the enterprise uses a completely sustainable renewable fiber source (i.e., banana tree trunk) that doesn’t contribute to the destruction of natural or purpose-plant forests.

The process is also much more environmentally friendly and produces significantly lower costs than comparable products.

The 12 worldwide teams also include Compost City from Cambodia that is developing compost equipment and educational programs to help households and schools turn their kitchen waste into compost with ease and appreciation for how nature works.

Others include Zonku Technology  from Uganda which collects and recycles single use plastic, Recube  from India for smart packaging systems and waste management , Travel4Green  from Guinea based in tree planting, Bestby  from United Arab Emirates that manages food waste, Peec Energy from Uganda that offers  affordable solar electricity , Diversifinca  from Colombia that links agricultural producers and consumers and Hesena from Mexico that develops and distributes personal hygiene  and skin-care products.

Others are  Bees&Us  from Fiji based in honey production and best farming practices, Bamboo Labs – Green Mobility  in Ethiopia making Sustainable Bamboo Wheelchairs and Bicycles , SolarForward  from Nepal providing solar energy.

From Mongolia, Power Box is providing electricity, Devi from India that that will focus on the production of a disposable pad made out of sugarcane fibre and NeuraFarm from Indonesia which built a crop management & protection apps, which is powered by Artificial Intelligence to help farmers identify disease from mere images, get comprehensive diagnosis, and treatment recommendation.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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