Banana stems transformed in Martinique

This project is leading the way in innovation and respect for nature, turning previously unused banana trunks into wood veneer and natural fibre, highly sought after products on international markets.

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Projects such as this are helping the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020, as set out in the EU 2020 growth strategy. The EU is facing some tough challenges, including an ageing population, an insufficiently qualified workforce, the need for greater innovation, striking a balance between economic growth and environmental degradation, and ensuring secure, clean energy supplies. Regional policy projects across the EU are playing an active role in dealing with these and many other challenges, by undertaking projects designed to generate employment, raise educational achievement, develop renewable energy sources, boost productivity and give all citizens access to opportunities. The projects and the regions play a pivotal role in this, as they generate real results that contribute to achieving the strategy’s key goals.

The 100% recyclable products will be made in three new processing plants. On offer is a vast range of products targeted at a cross-section of industries in several countries.

Growing in the right direction

Two companies, FIB ET CO SAS and NV TECH, have joined forces and will transform banana stems to make other products such as wood veneer and natural fibre. FIB ET CO SAS always has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest in technology, and together with NV TECH, has developed new technology capable of this new process. Special agreements have been reached with growers in the central region of Martinique for raw material supplies. The two companies will set up most of its operations in this region.

Nature polished up

Three new processing plants will be built within 5 years and will result in a range of products offering different designs, colours and technical features. The target groups of customers include the construction, DIY, furniture manufacturing, packaging, printing, mass distribution and agri-food industries, while the main target countries are France, Italy and Belgium, followed by the Caribbean and USA.

Their products are in high demand on world markets given their physical properties. FIB ET CO SAS is one of only two companies in the world producing such goods. For its operations, FIB ET CO SAS will need between 1 500 and 2 000 banana stems per day, which equates to some 200 hectares per year. Once operational, one plant will have the capacity to produce 600 000 m2 of product per year.

The project is expected to create 44 jobs, 25 of which will be indirect and cover harvesting on the other plantations supplying raw materials.    

Quintessentially green

The project represents a big step forward in terms of both economic savings and innovation, with natural fibre and wood veneer being produced from agricultural waste (banana stems). Furthermore, the operations at the facilities are based on an environmentally sustainable process where no water or chemicals are used.

Europe 2020 is the EU's growth strategy for the coming decade. Conscious of the rapidly changing world it lives in, the EU has set out to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. To achieve this, the EU has set five ambitious targets covering employment, innovation, education, social inclusion and climate/energy. Projects such as this one, backed by EU funding, are producing real results and playing a central role in helping take the EU towards these goals.

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