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Value-added Processing of Bananas and Plantain

Banana and Plantain Processing for a Healthier Diet

This value-added processing technology transform bananas and plantains into a range of marketable products. Both ripe and unripe fruits can be utilized. Unripe bananas and plantains are typically peeled, sliced, and dried (either in the sun or using dehydrators) before grinding into flour. This flour boasts a high resistant starch content and can be used as a partial substitute for wheat flour in various applications like baking and pasta production. For ripe bananas, the process involves peeling and pulping the fruit to create a puree ideal for use in beverages, dairy products like yogurt, and even ice cream. Alternatively, sliced bananas can be dried or deep-fried to produce healthy snacks in the form of banana chips. Notably, the processing methods can be adapted for small-scale, community-based operations or scaled up for industrial production lines.

2

This technology is TAAT1 validated.

7•7

Scaling readiness: idea maturity 7/9; level of use 7/9

1,500 USD

Banana flour production machinery that can process 100 kg per hour

10000—60000 USD

Equipment for the automatic production of fried banana chips (100-500 kg/hour)

1,500 USD

Commercial presses for producing banana pulp (0,5 ton/hour)

IP

Open source / open access

Problem

  • Postharvest losses: Bananas and plantains are perishable crops and can quickly deteriorate after harvest, leading to significant losses.
  • Unattractive Appearance: Traditional flour processing can result in a brownish color that is not appealing to consumers.
  • Diverse Flour Processing Challenges: Different banana and plantain cultivars have varying starch properties, which can pose challenges in meeting specific industrial requirements.
  • Low Availability of Digestible Carbohydrates: In their natural form, bananas and plantains may not provide a high availability of digestible carbohydrates.

Solution

  • Enhanced Shelf Life: Techniques like flour production and pulping are employed to create longer-lasting banana and plantain-based items.
  • Color Improvement: Blanching or soaking in sodium metabisulfite or organic acids is recommended to counteract the unattractive brownish color typically associated with traditional flour processing.
  • Improve Starch Content: Different cultivars are utilized to produce flours with varying starch properties, aiming to meet specific industrial requirements related to thickening, resistant starch, and dietary needs.
  • Increasing Availability of Digestible Carbohydrates: The technology enhances the availability of digestible carbohydrates by processing the bananas and plantains into various forms such as flour, chips, and pulps. This increases the nutritional value and digestibility of these crops.

Key points to design your business plan

For Processor 

Sourcing Equipment As a processor, you’ll need to source equipment for banana processing from various suppliers. The specific equipment you’ll need depends on the type of banana products you plan to produce. For instance, for banana chips production, you’ll need a banana slicer, a fryer, a deoiler, and a packaging machine. For banana flour or banana powder production, you’ll need a banana peeling machine, a slicer, a blanching and soaking machine, a dryer, a grinding machine, and a packaging machine.

Cost of Equipment The cost of equipment can vary widely depending on the scale of production and the level of automation. For instance, commercial presses for producing banana pulp cost about US $1,500, are made of stainless steel and have a pulping capacity of 0.5 ton per hour. Larger machines able to pulp 2.5 tons per hour cost about $4,000 in China. Banana flour production machinery with adjustable mesh size that can process 100 kg per hour is available in China for US $15,000. Larger equipment with a capacity of producing 5 ton flour per hour cost about $300,000. Equipment for the automatic production of fried banana chips costs between $10,000 and $60,000 depending upon throughput capacity.

Raw material source:  The quality of bananas and plantains is paramount in the processing business as it significantly impacts the final products. Sourcing these fruits locally from farmers ensures freshness and supports the local economy. Wholesale fruit markets are also a viable source for large quantities. For larger scale operations or if these fruits are not locally available, importing from countries where they are grown in abundance could be considered. Always ensure the fruits are disease-free and harvested at the right maturity stage for processing. 

Potential Customers The potential customers for banana products are vast. They include food manufacturers, bakeries, confectioneries, cosmetic companies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Banana products like banana chips, banana flour, banana puree, and banana concentrate are in high demand in today’s fast-paced business world. You can also explore niche markets like banana wine production, banana fiber products, and banana-based cosmetics.

Remember, starting a value-added processing business for bananas and plantains can be a significant investment, so it’s important to do thorough research and planning before getting started.

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Positive or neutral impact

Adults 18 and over
Positive high
The poor
Positive low
Under 18
No impact
Women
Positive high

Positive or neutral impact

Climate adaptability
It adapts somewhat well
Adaptability for farmers
It helps a lot
Biodiversity
It doesn't hurt them
Carbon footprint
It doesn't reduce emissions at all
Environment
It doesn't make a difference
Soil quality
It doesn't harm the soil's health and fertility
Water usage
It uses the same amount of water

Countries with a green colour
Tested & adopted
Countries with a bright green colour
Adopted
Countries with a yellow colour
Tested
Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burundi Burkina Faso Democratic Republic of the Congo Djibouti Côte d’Ivoire Eritrea Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Cameroon Kenya Libya Liberia Madagascar Mali Malawi Morocco Mauritania Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Republic of the Congo Rwanda Zambia Senegal Sierra Leone Zimbabwe Somalia South Sudan Sudan South Africa Eswatini Tanzania Togo Tunisia Chad Uganda Western Sahara Central African Republic Lesotho
Countries where the technology has been tested and adopted
Country Tested Adopted
Benin Tested Adopted
Burkina Faso Tested Adopted
Burundi Tested Adopted
Cameroon Tested Adopted
Côte d’Ivoire Tested Adopted
Democratic Republic of the Congo Tested Adopted
Ethiopia Tested Adopted
Ghana Tested Adopted
Guinea Tested Adopted
Kenya Tested Adopted
Malawi Tested Adopted
Nigeria Tested Adopted
Rwanda Tested Adopted
Sierra Leone Tested Adopted
Somalia Tested Adopted
Tanzania Tested Adopted
Togo Tested Adopted
Uganda Tested Adopted
Zambia Tested Adopted

This technology can be used in the colored agro-ecological zones. Any zones shown in white are not suitable for this technology.

Agro-ecological zones where this technology can be used
AEZ Subtropic - warm Subtropic - cool Tropic - warm Tropic - cool
Arid
Semiarid
Subhumid
Humid

Source: HarvestChoice/IFPRI 2009

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are applicable to this technology.

Sustainable Development Goal 2: zero hunger
Goal 2: zero hunger
Sustainable Development Goal 3: good health and well-being
Goal 3: good health and well-being
Sustainable Development Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Sustainable Development Goal 11: sustainable cities and communities
Goal 11: sustainable cities and communities
Sustainable Development Goal 12: responsible production and consumption
Goal 12: responsible production and consumption

Preparation of Unripe Plantain and Banana Flour:

  1. Wash the bunch or fingers thoroughly to eliminate sand and impurities before peeling.
  2. Cut the peeled fruit into slices and air dry for 1-3 days. 
  3. Mill the dried slices after the air-drying process to obtain flour. 
  4. Use hand peeling or an industrial scale automated machine for efficient peeling.

Processing Banana Puree from Ripe Bananas:

  1. Wash and peel ripe bananas.
  2. Blanch the bananas with steam or boiling water at around 93°C for approximately 15 minutes. 
  3. Cool the blanched bananas and blend them using a blender.

Manufacturing Banana Chips: 

  1. Method A: Deep-fry thin slices of banana in hot oil, similar to preparing potato chips. 
  2. Method B: Dry slices of banana in the sun, or utilize a solar or artificial dryer.

Industrial-Scale Process (for Unripe Fruits):

  1. Wet milling the fruit into a smooth mash.
  2. Dewater the mash using a press filter and a flash dryer.
  3. Mill and sieve the dried chips or press cake to acquire high-quality flour.

Last updated on 5 July 2024