Nelly Bassily | December 7, 2009
Banana peels can be found rotting in many corners of Kampala: in the streets, sewer outlets, and water channels. Sometimes, a chicken is seen pecking at banana peels, or a pig rooting through the waste. These sights inspired an innovative community group. They have found a way to reduce city waste while producing inexpensive animal feed.
Moses Nadiope is coordinator of the Kasubi Parish Local Community Development Initiative. His group wondered if banana peels could be dried and used as animal food. It turns out they can. Banana bran is a good substitute for maize bran. It is also less expensive.
Mr. Nadiope explains the process for making banana bran. It starts with the peels. These are easy to come by, since more than half of local garbage is banana peels. The community group buys dried peels from residents at 120 Ugandan shillings per kilogram (about six American cents or four Euro cents).
The dried banana peels are ground in a mill. The mill was given to the community group on credit by an environmental NGO called Environmental Alert. Over time, the group will repay the NGO with the money they make selling banana bran.
Each day, the community group churns out one tonne of banana bran. They sell the bran to livestock farmers for 250 Ugandan shillings per kilogram (about 13 American cents or nine Euro cents). This is a good deal for farmers, since maize bran costs up to twice as much.
Tests carried out by Makerere University confirmed that banana bran is highly nutritious. It contains protein, phosphorus, and calcium. The scientists also noted two safety precautions. Banana peels should be dried on polyethylene sheets. And banana bran should be stored in a dry place. These precautions prevent bacterial growth.
To make a good feed for chickens, pigs, or other animals, the banana bran should be mixed with cotton seed, silver fish (also known as mukene), and sunflower.
Members of the community group were the first to buy banana bran because they understood its nutritional value. Now, Mr. Nadiope says, other farmers are realizing the “magic” of banana bran.