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Kericho Innovator Crafts Eco-Friendly Polybags From Banana Plant Stems

As the world struggles with the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, Isaiah Kiprop Keter, is actively providing solutions by crafting a biodegradable polybag.

Keter, an officer at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Coffee Research Institute invented the biodegradable polybag made from banana plant stem.

This organic material he says, offers several advantages over traditional polythene planting bags and should be used for raising plants in nurseries instead of the commonly used polythene papers which release many harmful contaminants and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

He was speaking to KNA on the sidelines of the Kericho Coffee and Agricultural Expo where he showcased his invention urging farmers and organizations to embrace the eco-friendly polybags that he claimed provide farmers with a head start in their crop production.

‘Another remarkable feature of these banana plant stem polybags is their ability to retain moisture effectively, allowing plants to survive additional
watering for up to twenty days, since they retain moisture exceptionally well, making them ideal for agricultural use in regions vulnerable to water scarcity,’ explained Keter, a resident of Kericho.

‘Besides water retention, the biodegradable polybags facilitate better plant adaptation during transplanting, unlike polythene bags, which must be removed and discarded, the banana plant stem bags can be planted directly into the soil along with the plant,’ he added.

He says, the creation of these biodegradable polybags involves carefully tying the banana plant stem to form sturdy containers, a process he said not only leverages a readily available natural resource but also ensures that the bags are entirely organic.

The innovation, he adds, holds significant promise for enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability in Kenya and beyond and by reducing reliance on non-biodegradable plastics, it also contributes to environmental conservation efforts.

‘The adoption of these biodegradable polybags could
lead to a substantial reduction in plastic waste, aligning with global initiatives to combat plastic pollution,’ he said.

He called on the Kenya Forest Service to adopt the use of banana plant stems as they grow tree seedlings in nurseries instead of the traditionally used plastic bags, as a measure to protect the environment.

Source: Kenya News Agency