News and knowhow for farmers

Leaf banana preservation enables farmers reduce losses 30%

BANANA HANDLING

Proper ba­nana post-har­vest pack­aging with its leaves can save farm­ers three out of 10 fruits des­troyed be­fore reach­ing the con­sumer.

Vin­cent Oyaro, the chair­man of Ri­gesa Youth Group, said that dur­ing trans­port­a­tion, farm­ers may lose more than 30 per cent weight to en­vir­on­mental agents and break­ages, more so when fer­ry­ing to far mar­kets.

He at­trib­utes weight loss to en­vir­on­mental agents like strong sun­light as well as wind while crack­ing and bruis­ing res­ults from pres­sure when piled to­gether.

“A ba­nana from Kisii being taken to Mom­basa, which is more than 700 km away, can­not fetch its ex­pec­ted cash if it is trans­por­ted while ex­posed. Pil­ing them to­gether and hand­ling dur­ing load­ing and un­load­ing can cause dam­age of three out of 10 fin­gers, yet this can be avoided,” Oyaro said

RE­LATED ART­ICLE: Ex­porter look­ing for Cav­endish ba­nana out grow­ers to meet in­creas­ing ex­port mar­ket de­mand

The Nyamira County group, which sup­plies ripe, ripen­ing, and plantain ba­na­nas to major town in Kenya such as Nairobi, Kisumu, Na­k­uru, Migori, among oth­ers sets down green leaves from the fruit stem.

They en­sure all fin­gers are covered be­fore tying the en­tire ba­nana with sisal or barks of trees.

RE­LATED ART­ICLE: Meru farm­ers win con­tract to ex­port ba­na­nas to Hun­gary

No losses

The all-round leaves will cush­ion the fin­gers against bruises and break­ages dur­ing move­ment. The shrink­ing and bruis­ing lead to fur­ther losses due to de­pre­ci­ated qual­ity of fin­gers, the chair­man said.

“A ba­nana that is wrapped in the leaves re­mains fresh for the two or three days it takes from Kisii to Diani, (Kwale County). It will only be ex­posed to brief weather agents for a few days while being sold,” he said.

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Ba­na­nas are har­ves­ted from rural areas such as cent­ral and Nyanza re­gions be­fore being trans­por­ted to urban centres for ripen­ing or plantain cook­ing.

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