Most people, especially those in the fruit business, have the challenges of getting their produce ripened at the required time so that they can sell immediately and make money like yesterday.
The fruit sellers would like to keep a clientele of customers who depend on them for fresh fruits which are readily available every day so that they do not move from stall to stall in search of their preferred fruits.
For this reason, they will not wish to miss their preferred fruit on a daily basis and it is therefore important that they devise ways and methods which will help them guarantee their customers of the fresh fruit as and when they want them.
Amid the prevailing COVID-19 especially when fruits are in high demand to provide consumers with requisite vitamins, it is important that the vendors provide them promptly without excuses so as to retain their customers.
To address the issue, the vendors have adopted a very unique fruit ripening chamber that is man-made and very easy to construct so that they do not engage in uncouth practices of artificially ripening the fruits especially the bananas.
Speaking to KNA from his farm in Kanunga location, a farmer Fredrick Mwaura explained that construction of this chamber is very easy and anyone can construct it as the necessary materials are readily available.
According to Mwaura this fruits ripening chamber is basically made from wood and polythene bag materials that almost everyone can access.
He says the chamber after being constructed using wood, the vendor should add the polythene bag around it from the inside to ensure that no air gets in or out of the chamber. “The chamber has to be air tight for it to give good results, says Mwaura
Mwaura contend that the fruit ripening chamber can be of any size as it is basically determined by the number of fruits the vendor intends to trade with on a daily basis.
He says the chamber is mostly used for banana ripening, a fruit that is consumed by most people and even fruits like avocados which require to be kept in a warm environment to ripen.
Mwaura however states that the biggest trick of making sure that this chamber works as required is by ensuring that a purple passion fruit is put at the lowest shelf of the chamber. He says this lone fruit produces a certain gas that plays a big role in the ripening of the other fruits in the fruits chamber.
Mwaura further states that if one intends to ripen his or her fruits faster, they could as well blend them with more passion fruits.
According to him, the people who use this fruit chamber in Kiambu sub-county are farmers who ripen these fruits and sell them at the Kangangi market which has more vendors selling the fruit.
Mwaura went on to explain that he had benefited from the information on ripening of the fruits from the Kiambu sub-county agricultural offices.
“.Most people in Kiambu sub-county have learnt about this fruit chamber technique and are now making a lot of money from their fruit business” Mwaura said.
Talking to KNA Grace Wanjiru, a fruit business woman in Kiambu sub-county, she explained to KNA that she has this chamber at her home where she ripens her bananas and watermelons for sale. According to Wanjiru, the fruits in the chamber do not take more than 3 days to ripen and hence she never lacks fruits to take to the market on every market day which fall on Tuesday and Fridays
She discouraged fruit vendors from using chemicals for artificial ripening of fruits which she says in most cases made the fruits appear ripe by changing its color yet it lacks taste, smell and its properties end up being weakened.
It would be better if farmers and even companies who deal with fruits to use the fruit ripening chambers which is a traditional means so as to cushion consumers from contracting any disease.
This will help reduce the various diseases that result from chemically ripened fruits and assure the consumers of healthy farm produce.
Talking to Kiambu sub-county agribusiness officer from her office, Ms. Ann Rugenyi confirmed that the use of passion fruit by the vendors was the best way to fasten the ripening process as it was not harmful.
Passion fruit produces ethylene gas which is the most commercially produced organic compound in the world and is used in many industries and in homes by the fruit vendors, she said while advising them to embrace it for the sake of safety.
Compared to the traditional method where the farmers use banana leaves to help the bananas to ripen, she clarified that the use of the passion fruit was faster especially if one was commercially oriented.
Ripe bananas are beneficial for vitamin B6 and also are a source of vitamin C and dietary fiber. They are also fat, sodium and cholesterol free. They are easily absorbed and especially nutritious for expectant mothers and also good for all family members. Consumers of bananas will never complain of constipation, stomach ulcers, and heartburn which affect many people owing to the lifestyles that many people who are busy embrace.
By Lydia Shiloya