The pineapple is a fruit that in the past has brought riches to farmers in Vazhakkulam, the home of the GI-tagged herbaceous perennial in Kerala.

However, of late, price drops and climate vagaries have spelt misery for pineapple farmers.

But weaving hope is a Surat-based garment manufacturing firm – Natloop Innotex LLP – that has reached out to the farmers to collect pineapple leaves from them to make yarns.

Offers good price

The company has offered the farming community a good price for the leaves.

If the project succeeds, this will provide a thread of new business opportunity for the beleaguered farming community.

Fruit of the loom

Shreyans Kokra, Director of the company, said that Natloop uses the leaves that are discarded otherwise, and processes it to create textile grade fibres and yarns using 100 per cent green technology.

In the next 6-8 months, it anticipates a requirement of 50 lakh kg of pineapple leaves.

Baby John, President of Pineapple Growers Association Keralam, told BusinessLine that the Surat-based company has already procured around 2,000 tonnes of leaves at an offered price in the range of ₹15-18 per kg.

Currently, it is transporting the entire quantity of leaves to Gujarat, but the company has plans to extract fibre from the leaves on site in Kerala itself, which will be more cost-effective and easier than transporting the commodity to Gujarat.

“It is possible to get sufficient quantities of leaves every month after vacating the yield and it is estimated that around 20 tonnes of leaves can be procured from one acre plantation,” said John.

Earlier, pineapple leaves were also used in cattle feed after shredding it, he said, adding that the move by the Gujarat textile firm would help farmers earn critical extra income which would come in handy when pineapple prices plummeted.

There has been growing use of the pineapple shrub’s parts.

Disposable glasses

Earlier, the Central government had sanctioned a project with the Vazhakkulam Pineapple Company to make disposable glasses and plates at a cost of ₹2.55 crore.