According to FAO in 2013, plantains represent the world’s second-largest fruit crop with an annual production of 28,000000 metric tons. Plantain is ranked among the most important six global food commodities after rice, maize, cowpea, and wheat in terms of their gross value of production. Nigeria is one of the largest plantain producing countries in the world, virtually there is no community in the Southern, North Central, and some parts of the North of Nigeria that plantain is not grown. Plantain has both economic and health benefits which make it a popular demand in the Country.
Plantain is the less sweet, starchier equivalent to the banana sometimes called “dessert bananas.” Due to different healthy components in plantain, it has amazing health benefits which range from nutritious; high in antioxidants,digestive health, weight management, good for the heart, and versatile. Plantain is a common food in the kitchen and which one cannot visit any eateries, food canteens, and most homes without a prepared plantain either fried or boiled for consumption as well as a raw material for many popular delicacies.
PRODUCTS OF PLANTAIN
There are several products in plantain with opportunity for business which some are listed below:
1. Fried plantain: The ripe or unripe plantain are peeled and cut into slices and fried in palm oil or other vegetable oil for 4 to 5 minutes. This is popularly called ‘Dodo’ among the Yorubas but is commonly found today in all parts of Nigeria, served with fried fish and beans or rice depending on choice.
2. Boiled plantain: Boiled plantain is the cooking of peeled either ripe or unripe plantain in the boiling water for some minutes depending on the stage of the fruit. Boiled plantain can be eating with any sauce and is healthy for diabetics’ patients.
3. Plantain pastry: it is the use of unripe plantain pulp after boiled and pound in a wooden mortar into an indigenous pastry; it is commonly prepared by the Yorubas and wrapped in plantain leaves.
4. Plantain fritters: The use of pulp of overripe plantains pounded and mixed with one’s specific small quantity of cereal flour and salted to form delicious pastry.
5. Plantain chips: Plantain chip is Nigeria’s popular junk and sold everywhere in the country. It is prepared by frying round slices of unripe or slightly ripened plantain pulp in vegetable oil.
6. Plantain flower: The flour obtained from plantain has been described as nutritious and recommended for aged people. It is prepared from the sun-drying of ripped or over ripped plantain pulp and grind into powder. The flour is also used in making bread, biscuits, and instant flour.
7. Plantain beer and alcohol: Plantain is a source of juice, vinegar, beer, and alcohol, these are majorly found in the ripped plantain. A good example of the plantain fruit beer is ‘Sekete’ found in a town called Ife in Nigeria.
Because of the health benefits and less of fiber has contributed to an increase in demand for the crop in Nigeria and globally. Plantain farming holds a lot of advantages to farmers. It doesn’t require much capital to start but it is advisable that one must do research and finding before venturing into the farming. Though, plantain is a popular demanded crop but not every farmer has a passion for it because of the growing process, time, and regular management involved.
Plantain farming is majorly carried out by smallholder farmers and largely dwells in rural communities. Earlier, plantain is commonly grown in the backyard until needs keep increasing and the level of awareness of its benefit makes it exonerate into the commercial market. If you’re thinking of investing in agriculture, plantain farming holds great potentials to make you enjoy farming and have a good return from your produce.
Written by; Godwin Adinoyi Jimoh
Communication Officer, Barns Connect.