Being a Gastronome, I am practically a lover of good food and I know that it takes a lot of work and commitment to attain good food.
I am a farmer of bananas and bananas are our traditional staple food in Central Uganda. All my work rotates around protecting the traditional banana varieties which are delicious and highly nutritious, they are prepared in various ways: steamed and/or boiled. They are the major source of food in central, eastern, and parts of western Uganda: There are bananas suitable for cooking (e.g. Gonja, Kivuvu, and all of the varieties collectively referred to as Matooke). For raw consumption (e.g. Ndiizi (apple bananas and Bogoya); and for making beverages (e.g. kayinja and Kisubi). In addition to providing food security, bananas represent an important cultural heritage and have numerous local and traditional functions in the daily lives of many Ugandans.
Bananas are generally harvested before they become fully ripe, when they contain more starch and less sugar. Bananas are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, and are of great value as a food for children.
The biodiversity of the banana is truly extraordinary: There are about 50 varieties which have fed people in Uganda for more than 1,000 years. It is smart to grow many varieties in a single garden as a defence against diseases and climatic shocks, and in order to target different markets and different consumers, with different tastes and preferences.
Income from the sale of fresh bananas and various products derived from bananas helps raise the standard of us the famers living in rural communities and traders in the market places while guaranteeing the health of consumers. It is vital to protect this rich banana heritage, which is under threat from the introduction “super bananas of a GMO” program.
We should not believe the banana lies that traditional bananas varieties will be destroyed by bacterial wilt because the bacteria also attack hybrid varieties, and some traditional varieties are more resistant than others. There is another lie that traditional banana varieties are not nutritious yet the traditional varieties have fed us for generations.
I am want re-organising our farm land to focus on the revival and protection of at least 15 traditional banana varieties each year planting 70 stocks of each varieties for as long as time allows to have all known and unknown varieties protected with the idea of paying close attention to each of them in order to document their advantages to make this knowledge available to farmers, students, researchers, consumers and the future generation.
The outcomes for my project will be the number of traditional varieties I will be able to rediscover and prevent their extinction, the number of people who will gain good agronomic practices from my garden and replicate it and the level of improvement in the livelihood me and of those who work on my farm. My motivation comes from the fact that I support the idea of Food sovereignty which promotes policies and practices that serve the rights of people to safe, healthy and ecologically sustainable food production. I as well want to take part in the short supply chains as an alternative way to distribute food to consumers.
|Ndizia (apple banana||Dessert, cakes, fibres for making art & crafts|
|Matooke||Food, feeds, leaves for wrapping food, fibres|
|Kayinja||Brewing, juice, fibres, leaves for wrapping food|
|Bogoya||Fruit, food, fibres for roofing|
|Gonja||Street food (roasted), fibres|
|Kisubi||Juice, leaves, brewing, fibres for art & crafts|
|Mbidde||Food during famine, fibres, brewing, juice|
Time Horizon for my project in 2019
January: Acquisition of land and partition into 10 plots
February: Preparation of Land and finding banana suckers of traditional varieties at risk of extinction
March: Finding of suckers and planting.
April: Planting and terracing of the land.
May: Joining conferences and seminars on the issue of plant protection and sustainable farming.
June: Installation of irrigation systems and mulching
July: Documentation and research on the project.
August: Application of biological methods on diseases and pest control.
September: finding banana suckers of traditional varieties and planting.
October: Documentation and research on the project
November: De-suckering and intercropping.
John Wanyu, Uganda