This article is not a research but it is intended to ring a bell that there are wide aspects of banana growing which have not been considered by peasant farmers in Africa.
As we all know Africa is endowed with natural resources including bananas which can be used to produce high value products that fetch better prices on the open market. The bananas for sure can transform the economies of those countries which grow bananas if the wider aspect of growing bananas is considered. The bananas do very well in warmer places with plenty of rainfall and that is a reason why bananas do very well in the tropics of Africa.
The peasant farmers grow bananas on a small scale to meet their domestic demand. The bananas which are quite rich in starch are staple food for a number of countries in Africa.
Africa exports less than 20% of the production as the infrastructure for production of bananas for export is not in place. The bananas can change the living standards of a number of people in Africa if the wider aspect of growing bananas is adopted. The bananas can be grown as a cash crop with the aim of maximising the income from it. There are many ways of maximising the income from bananas as highlighted below.
There are a number of varieties of cooking plantain for human consumption. The bananas can be cooked or baked or roasted. They can also be processed into banana chips or crips or dried into banana flour.
The banana peelings, banana leaves and banana stem can be fed on goat, sheep, cows and pigs.
These are quite sweet and can be eaten when ripe or processed into desert on its own or in combination with other fruits. The ripe banana can used in combination with other products to produce wonderful desert and juices depending on one’s innovative ability. Some of banana deserts can be eaten roasted or baked. They produced very sweet crisps.
The ripe bananas produce wonderful juice for human consumption. The banana juice can be mixed with other juice to make cocktails.
The bananas can also be processed into banana jam.
The peelings from bananas are normally thrown away. What a waste they have a number of uses include animal feed and can prepared for human consumption. The peelings are used in various ways across the world.
These produce juice which is fermented to produce banana beer or banana wine. The ripe bananas can be eaten when ripe and the peelings should be fed on animals.
Bananas can also be used as flowers in the compound and they are also used for decoration during important functions like weddings
The banana Leaves
The leaves are also during food preparation. They are used either to cover the food or during the serving of food
The banana trunks can be used for mulching the banana plantation. They can also be eaten by goats, sheep and cows. In some parts of the world the banana trunk is also eaten as food.
The banana can also be used to produce textile.
Artists have used banana fibre and banana leaves to produce wonderful art pieces.
Quality banana suckers are on high demand.
Bananas have been used as a replacement for butter in baking and this is good news for healthy living. The bananas have been used in combination with other ingredients to produce wonderful products. It can be used to produce products like banana bread. Ripe bananas have been used for a long time to make local pancakes which are increasingly becoming a global delicacy.
The bananas can processed in the factory to get a number of extracts including aromas which be used in the processing of other products.
The bananas are used to produce beer both in the breweries and by the local communities for human consumption.
The bananas are being used to produce banana wine and production of wine can be done on a small scale.
Peasants should be equipped with knowledge about the wider aspects of banana growing in order for them to maximise the income from banana farming.
Author: John Muhaise-Bikalemesa,
Director Big Drum Advisory Services,