HomeFEATURED ARTICLEBanana fibre idea earns entrepreneur Ksh2 million

Banana fibre idea earns entrepreneur Ksh2 million

Winners of the National Environment Trust Fund (NETFUND) Green Innovation Awards were awarded at a gala and expo on May 19.

Mr Patrick Gatare, an entrepreneur from Kirinyaga County was crowned the overall winner and bagged Ksh2 million cash prize. National Environment Trust Fund (NETFUND) recognised the 50-year-old for his Banana Fibre production initiative that has seen the community make mats, hand woven bags (Kiondos) and wall hangings, which have a robust market both locally and internationally, uplifting lives of the Kirinyaga residents.

Started in 2013, Mr Gatare’s team recognised reduced production of sisal in the country – a key ingredient for weaving products – and imported a banana fibre extractor at Ksh400, 000 from India.

“I am very happy with this recognition and it will boost my expansion of my product line. I would like to venture in paper and cheaper sanitary towels production,” Gatare said.

Mr Gatare also took the top spot under the civil society organisations category.

Other winners recognized for their green innovations were Millennium Mushroom for Life under women group category, Folia Dasimz, a natural pesticide from medicinal trees (individual), (Gorge Farm Energy Park (SMEs) and Green Bio-Fuel from Hyacinth from Secondary School category.

Present during the gala ceremony was the Principal Secretary, State Department of Environment and Regional Development Studies Mr. Charles Sunkuli who emphasized the need to invest in local entrepreneurs in order to move the country forward. “We should empower Kenyans to sustainably manage the environment through promotion and support of green growth,” he said.

NETFUND’s Chief Executive Officer Ms Catherine Ndegwa said that the winners will be incubated to enable them navigate the entrepreneurial field and expand their businesses. “We are also partnering with local banks to offer subsidized loans for businesses in order to expand even more,” she told journalists.

The NETFUND GIA awards seek to identify best innovative projects with capacity to be commercialized and at the same time improve Kenya’s environmental management.

See Also: Thick-skinned employee turns into leather millionaire

Thirteen finalists lined up for various awards after a rigorous vetting process that saw judges transverse the country to assess the short listed projects. This year’s NETFUND GIA received over 13,000 applications from individuals, women groups, SMEs, CBOs, Primary and Secondary Schools. The program will also provide county-level awards during Mashujaa Day on 20th October 2016.

This year’s programme focused on green innovations supporting waste management, agribusiness, energy and water. About 40 innovators drawn from the NETFUND GIA process were exhibited their projects.

Here is the list of all winners:

  1. Women Group Category

Millennium Mushrooms

  1. Civil Society Organizations Category

A Banana Fibre Production

  1. Individual Category

Folia dasim, Natural Pesticide from Medicinal Trees

  1. Secondary School Category

Green Bio Fule from water Hyacinth

  1. SME Category

Gorge Farm Energy Park

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