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Farmers unaware of advantages of banana stem and fibre

Banana farmers have been losing a lot of money by just harvesting the fruits and perceiving the stem and leaves as wastes, and yet they can be used for making artwork, carpets and even consumed as fibre for improved digestion.

An expert of banana farming in Nakuru County John Makori, said the entire banana tree was usable for numerous things including making environmentally friendly baskets, organic fertilizer and roofs.

However, he said for many years, local farmers have discarded the stem and leaves as farm litter and that has denied them extra earnings from the popular fruit.

Interviewed by KNA, at Ngata, he said he feeds his cows and indigenous chicken with parts of the stem and that has reduced his cost of purchasing the expensive feeds, which in any case, is usually not well mixed.

Makori appealed to the government to assist banana farmers make a living from their farming by loaning them carpet making machines and baskets instead of importing shopping bags from other countries.

In addition, he said there was need for promoting the consumption of locally grown bananas instead of importing them from other countries, and encourage increased acreage of the fruit.

“Our climate is good for the production of all varieties of bananas and even the popular Kampala bananas can easily be grown in the country, since the soil and environment were conducive,’’ he said.

Other local, farmers interviewed by KNA were equally surprised that the entire banana tree was valuable and yet they have been discarding them as farm litters and sometimes burning them.

By Veronica Bosibori

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