Value Addition and its Importance
Value addition is transforming raw agricultural products into something more valuable. It can be achieved through packaging, processing, drying, and pasteurization. Value-added agriculture is essential to farmers, producers, traders, and consumers. It provides an opportunity to open new markets and creates employment. Value addition enables farmers to earn more revenues and reduce post-harvest losses since there will be expanded market. It provides more choices for consumers on what state to consume products. Besides, it allows producers to run a sustainable agribusiness venture, increase the shelf life of products and their profit margins.
Banana Value Addition
Banana farming in Kenya is mainly done by small-holder farmers who rely on the local market to sell the raw bananas for cooking or ripe ones as fruits. Most farmers experience post-harvest losses due to low prices and lack of adequate market for their bananas. Regarding this, value addition is critical in the banana value chain to increase their value and demand.
Photo: Sitara Foods
Bananas can be turned into new products such as crisps, flour, fresh juice, jam, and alcoholic drinks (beer and wine). I will focus on how to make banana flour in this article. The dried green bananas can be added with maize, millet, or sorghum, depending on whether the flour is used for ugali or porridge. Also, the banana flour can be used as it is or added with wheat flour to make chapati, banana cake, scones, and bread.
How to Process Green Banana Flour
Photo: The Daily Meal
1 Remove the bananas from the bunch
2 Thoroughly wash the bananas and cut both edges
3 Slice the bananas into small pieces
4 Dry the bananas to achieve a 10% moisture content
5 Mill the bananas to make flour
6 Package your flour with branded bags or label with business name
Health Benefits of Green Banana Flour
Green banana flour has potassium that promote heart health and reduces the risk of heart disease. Potassium also helps lower blood pressure and control kidney function. The presence of resistant starch and pectin fibers in green bananas improve blood sugar control and promote digestive health. The fibers also inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria and help one feel fuller after meals promoting weight loss. Banana flour is gluten-free and is thus ideal for people suffering from gluten intolerance. The flour is also rich in minerals and vitamins such as vitamin E, zinc, manganese, and magnesium, which have important functions in the body.
Challenges for green banana flour venture may include the following;
Inadequate finances to fund the innovation. The slicing machine, grinder, and solar dryers may be costly to a start-up producer.
Marketing may also be an obstacle as a lot of product awareness is required to the consumers to persuade them to try the new product.
Can you consider banana flour for your consumption? Have you ever added value to your green or yellow bananas?
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