The trunk of the Banana tree when treated properly gives this fine natural fiber. This craft of Banana fiber is slowly gaining in popularity and is predominantly found in the southern distric of Kanyakumari. Natural fibers like sisal, aloe, pineapple and screw pine and also weaved along with this banana fiber. Nowadays wall hangings and mats of different shapes and sizes are also made out of this fiber apart from the traditional table mats and bags.
Banana Fiber is extracted from Banana tree bark. The trunk is peeled. Brown-green skin is thrown away retaining the cleaner or white portion which will be processed into knotted fibers.
The fibers are extracted through hand extraction machine composed of either serrated or non serrated knives. The peel is clamped between the wood plank and knife and hand-pulled through, removing the resinous material. The extracted fibers are sun-dried which whitens the fiber.
Once dried, the fibers are ready for knotting. A bunch of fibers are mounted or clamped on a stick to facilitate segregation. Each fiber is separated according to fiber sizes and grouped accordingly. To knot the fiber, each fiber is separated and knotted to the end of another fiber manually. The separation and knotting is repeated until bunches of unknotted fibers are finished to form a long continuous strand. This fiber can now be used for making various products.