Makerere University is to begin work on a project that will turn waste from the banana plant into paper, clothing and shopping bags.
The Banana Green Gold Project, which is the brainchild of a Japanese university professor, Hiroshi Morishima, will involve transforming the trunks of banana plants into usable eco-friendly materials. A bulletin from Morishima, circulated around Makerere University, explains that the banana trunks will be sliced and pressed to isolate the fiber. The fiber is the sun dried, milled and pulped to make paper and cloth.
Morishima notes that 170 million tonnes of paper is made from wood pulp annually, a figure that the United Nations estimates could increase five-fold by 2010, devastating tropical rainforests and woodlands.
Venansious Baryamureeba, head of the Makerere University Innovations Program, says the Banana Green Gold project will be established at the Faculty of Agriculture center in Kabanyoro. He says that with Uganda's high banana production, there are more than enough material resources to fund the project.
Uganda is the world's second largest producer of bananas after India. The country currently produces 10 million tonnes of banana every year.
Baryamureeba says that once the Kabanyoro project is underway, three additional Green Gold centers will be opened in Gulu, Fort Portal and Mbale.
The Banana Green Gold project is funded by the Japanese Government.