From Waste to Cloth: Sustainable Textile Innovation in Uganda
Economic empowerment in Africa is most sustainable when developing indigenous skills and resources. In Uganda, the banana is one of the most important food crops, grown by about 75% of the farmers and feeding over 12 million people. A species of the banana, the Pisang Awak, is a 3-meter tall plant producing staple food in the central and western regions of Uganda. Most of the plant's layered pseudstems contain fibers, yet are commonly left in the field as waste. Bast fiber extraction is a common practice for flax, however there is a gap in scientific research regarding the extraction and transformation of bast fibers from banana pseudostems into for textiles. Thus, the purpose of this study was to demonstrate the potential of fibers from Pisang Awak pseudostems for sustainable textile production with the eventual goal of enhancing economic development in Uganda by providing the rural poor another source of income from extracted fibers derived from agricultural waste.