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Potential of cooking bananas in addressing food security in East Africa

Joachim Dotto, Athanasia O. Matemu, Patrick A. Ndakidemi

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Int. J. Biosci.13(4), 278-294, October 2018

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12692/ijb/13.4.278-294


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Banana is a very popular fruit in the world market and serves as an ideal and low-cost staple food in East Africa whose residents rely mostly on bananas as a source of food. Banana is practically non-seasonal crop that reliably grown by local farmers primarily for food. It has been categorised as the dessert bananas and the cooking bananas. Cooking banana is one of the most important staple food and cash crops in East Africa. It plays a central role in food security; it serves as a source of carbohydrate, minerals and vitamins all year-round. The banana crop provides a household annual income of about $ 1,500; this is the highest smallholder income-generating crop in the region. Currently, several indigenous and improved cultivars exist in East Africa. However, only a few popular cultivars are produced for commercial purposes. It is, therefore, important know the nutritional value, physicochemical quality parameters and sensory attributes of different cultivars from the literature review and seek to know how such information can help researchers in improving the challenging cultivars. There are wide-ranging variations reported in different banana cultivars for nutrients, minerals and other quality properties. In the present review, an overview of popular banana cultivars; nutritional value and health benefits; sensory and physicochemical properties and the role of breeding in improving quality of cooking bananas are thoroughly discussed.


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Potential of cooking bananas in addressing food security in East Africa

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