Banana, the fruit believed to be among the very first discovered fruits in the world is also one of the fruits consumed as either ripe or cooked.
Among majority of Kenyan communities and in most parts of the world generally, although the ripe banana is sometimes cooked, the green ones are the ones that mainly end up as cooked meals.
However, the fruit has many varieties suited for each purpose, while the purpose is also dictated by the stage of growth of the banana.
The oldest species, which originated from Southeast Asia, were small and about the size of an adult’s finger.
This led to Arab traders giving them the name based on the Arabic word for finger, “banan’. As for their consumption, back then they only knew ripe and boiled bananas.
Today, the green banana is prepared in many ways, including as boiled, fried, mashed and even roasted.
In Chuka town, the roasted preparation has greatly picked, as a commercial activity among students and business people alike, thanks to the new university at Ndagani in the outskirts of the town.
Entrepreneurs have found a haven to put their wildest fantasies into reality, curving a business niche in the growing market to earn an honest living.
It is in the streets of Chuka town, where you will find Ms. Pamela Kainyu, in her business of roasting bananas.
As KNA team visited the busy streets of Chuka town on a Tuesday evening, we bumped into this mother of three, preparing for the evening prevalence. She puts her goods down, takes off some bananas, checks whether her roasting paraphernalia is in order, before taking a seat to speak to the visitors.
“I have been doing this business for three years now, I started this business after I found it boring sitting at home, after a lot of devising, I found it worth to start a small-scale business of roasting bananas,” Kainyu says. Kainyu, a resident of Chuka town, says that business thrives during the evening hours.
“Most people are normally heading home after work and at times one may feel like grabbing something simple to eat, my customers are people coming from their various workplaces and students as well,” she adds.
Kainyu says that over the years, though she is married, she has learnt to find her own means to ensure her family never lacks basic needs.
“I must be diligent with my work to aid my husband pay school fees as well as other house needs, my firstborn is in standard seven, my second born is in Grade Four, while my last-born is in Grade Two,” she discloses.
Ms. Kainyu reveals that despite her business thriving, most of the time, she also encounters challenges in her line of business.
“At times you will buy bananas and once you roast them, they fail to sell out as expected, it is really a challenge since the anticipated profit is not achieved and therefore, may end up disheartened,” she adds.
Despite the challenges, Kainyu says that as she started her banana roasting business, she knew that all would not be smooth sailing and this knowledge keeps her going,
“You must practice diligence in any business for it to thrive, formidable results which come up as you start your business and go on, are meant to fortify oneself,’’ she says.
As she rises up to attend to one of her customers, Kainyu urges women who feel discouraged and have nothing much to do, to take the initiative and can start a small-scale business. It does not have to be roasting bananas but any other business can also work.
“As I started my business at first, it seemed contemptible, but as I moved on, I saw the importance of it,” she says.
KNA also got to interact with one of her customers who terms Kainyu as a diligent lady, Brenda Karimi, a regular customer says she enjoys eating Kainyu’s roasted bananas.
“I have known Kainyu for two years now, and for sure she is a lady who works to the core, before the day ends, I must ensure that I have a piece of the roasted banana,’’ she adds as
Karimi says adding that she esteems Kainyu’s hygiene and adores her devotedness to put her rare snack a notch higher each day.
By Erick Maina