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Increasing The Value of Bananas to Maximize Profits

The banana flour has many applications, including producing porridge when blended or pure to make chapatis, bread, cookies, mandazi, or bake cakes, as well as health advantages.
Winfred Kagwa showcasing machines and equipment inside the new facilities for addition of value to Bananas.

A tenacious farmer in western Uganda has discovered a way to supplement his meager banana sales revenue by engaging in value addition.

Winfred Kagwa has not only boosted his profits but also shielded himself against market gluts that typically hit Ugandan banana producers by turning bananas into flour.

His success story serves as an example to other farmers in the region, providing a method to boost profitability and address low market pricing.

Banana producers in Mbarara, Uganda’s primary matooke-producing region, have been plagued by middlemen exploitation and market issues.

Winfred Kagwa, a matooke farmer, watched fellow farmers’ problems and the dilemma of selling their bananas at low rates or letting them rot on the plantations.

“As a matooke farmer, I have witnessed farmers’ suffering at the hands of middlemen,” Kagwa explains. We’re split between selling the bananas to traders at a loss and letting them rot on the plantations.”

When Kagwa attended a farmers’ empowerment session organized by the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), his fortunes improved.

Kagwa decided to pursue his passion after being inspired by success stories and learning from fellow farmers involved in value addition.

Kagwa reflected on his path, saying, “I got in touch with other successful model farmers in Bushenyi who had adopted value addition in order to learn more and get tips for starting off.”

Kagwa originally had difficulty marketing his banana flour. The majority of Ugandans could not afford it since it was more expensive than regular maize and millet flour.

However, he identified a potential market segment and obtained contracts with Kampala’s high-end food chain stores.

“The market challenge is now fully covered,” says Kagwa, “and currently, we are working on expanding our machinery to increase output.”

Kagwa’s success story gives other banana growers in the region hope, as he hopes to access their produce at higher prices. Kagwa seeks to empower farmers and improve their lifestyles by offering competitive prices for their work.

“At first, it was a big hustle,” he says, “but after realising that the market for my high-value products was the rising middle class, I secured contracts with food chain stores in Kampala.”

The banana flour has many applications, including producing porridge when blended or pure to make chapatis, bread, cookies, mandazi, or bake cakes, as well as health advantages. How is the flour made?

The bananas are cut into small pieces with the peelings to preserve the nutrients in the peels, sun-dried until the moisture level is less than 10%, milled and sifted, packaged, and stored in a closed, dry area. The flour can be kept for up to a year.

Overripe bananas can be turned into a sweet and tasty jam by a farmer.

The bananas are mashed, placed in a heavy saucepan with the lemon juice and honey, and heated over medium heat until the liquid simmers for 20 minutes while stirring, then allowed to cool to room temperature. It thickens and may now be stored in the refrigerator for a week.

Ripe bananas are pureed, then milk, orange juice, and honey are added and mixed.

The juice is now ready to sip as a pleasant, refreshing, and healthful beverage.

The juice can be pasteurized and packaged, or it can be used to make carbonated beverages.

Farmers may increase their revenues and reduce post-harvest losses by adding value to their bananas. Various procedures such as drying, milling, roasting, and fermenting bananas are used to produce a variety of products such as banana crisps, flour, bread, cakes, and wine.


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