VALUE ADDITION OF BANANAS IN KENYA

Abstract

Eastern Africa produces over 10 million tons of bananas annually which accounts for 25.58% of the total world output.  The region is also the world’s leading consumer of bananas with an annual per capita consumption rate of 300-400 kg.  An estimated 20 million people subsist on bananas and related species as the principal source of dietary carbohydrate. Much of the production is by small-scale subsistence farmers for whom the cultivation of an all-year-round fruiting crop. In this region banana/plantains have become part and parcel of the socio-economic fabric of the subsistence communities. Apart from being a key staple food, the crop is increasingly becoming an important source of income for the resource poor farmers. Excess production is sold in local markets and is the main stay staple for urban workers. Both green cooking and table bananas are marketed for food. There exists however a great loss of bananas due to poor post-harvest handling and lack of adequate storage facilities. This study was therefore designed with the aim of producing and evaluating the potential commercialization of banana wine by the subsistence farmers with a view of providing extra income and reducing postharvest losses. Banana wine production and commercialization will raise the regions gross domestic product due to the abundance of bananas, cheap process technology and ease of production. The wine will also diversify the few uses of banana in the area. The production of the banana wine involved prior selection and weighing of bruise free bananas which were cut into halves and blanched for 15 minutes. The bananas were then peeled and weighed to calculate the yield which was followed by pulping and addition of tap water at 25% w/w. The pulp was heated while mixing to 50⁰C as the ˚brix and acidity are measured. This was followed by enzymatic treatment and the mixture was left overnight to macerate in a water bath at 60⁰C. The pulp was then removed, Brix and acidity measured and ameliorated (adjusting sugar and acid ratio accordingly) to achieve alcohol content desired. The pulp was then sulphited to 75ppm free SO2 and inoculated at the rate of 3% active yeast then placed in an inoculation vessel with water lock. Fermentation was allowed to occur at 12-15⁰C until gas production had almost stoppedfor 10 or more days. Wine harvesting was done at 2-4⁰C. The must was then filtered and dispensed into clean glass bottles. The bottles were then stored for a minimum of 3-5 weeks at room temperature for ageing. The study concluded that it is possible to produce an acceptable banana wine with huge potential for commercialization in East Africa. Subsequently, the adoption and commercialisation of banana wine production would curb the excess losses in the banana fields and markets which often are an environment sore and also become an additional income generating means for the population.