PHOTO:Afro Ochieng holds a banana baked bread from an oven on July 15,2016 at Kisii agricultural show ground. Banana peels powder is earning his group sixt imes more than plantain or ripe bunches. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.
A self help group is converting banana peelings, which are usually dumped as waste, into medicinal powder with a drying and grinding machine they received from an international organisation.
Misire Youth Group Chairman, Afro Ochieng said the solar drier, which they received more than one year ago from World Vision, has helped them multiply banana earning by six fold.
“Banana peels are converted into a fine powder with the help of a grinder after drying. Nothing is added besides a colour stabiliser. The group gets new orders daily. To Kisii town alone, we supply between 75 kilos and 100 kilos per week,” he said.
The group’s entry into the powder agribusiness was informed by multiple researches showing that it prevents drug induced ulcers.
Banana ulcer treatment
According to Greenmedinfo, an online medical journal, the powder controls stomach lining corrosion resulting from asprin, indomethacin, phenylbutazone, cysteamine, histamine, among other drugs. The potassium element in the powder strengthens corrosion resistance of the stomach mucous layer besides promoting healing by inducing cellular growth in affected areas.
Peels from a 30 kg banana can give five to six kilos of the dry powder. One kilo of the powder fetches Sh300 at wholesale, the chairman said. Six kilos earn Sh1,800.
The same banana, if sold for plantain or ripe fruits, earns between Sh250 and Sh300 in Kisii and about Sh500 in urban centres like Nairobi.
The group specialises in banana value addition. It converts banana fingers into flour for baking bread, cakes, dough nuts, among other products.
The only additive to the powder is sodium suplhate, which helps in maintaining the green power or white flour colours.
“It takes one to two days to dry the peels. The process reduces the moisture content to less than 10 per cent. Low moisture content limits growth of poisonous moulds as well as increases the shelf-life of the two products,” he said.
Converting the 30 kilos of raw banana into flour gives four kilos, which fetch Sh900 when sold raw.
Banana peels have about 20 per cent vitamin B-6, which helps the body in converting food into energy, therefore lowering diabetes risks.
Tuskys Supermarket is one of the outlets selling the powder.
Ochieng can be reached on +254721203669.