Green bananas

It is believed bananas originated in Malaysia because so many varieties of bananas are found there today.

Bananas were probably the first fruit farmed by man. Their history is recorded all the way back to Alexander the Great's conquest of India, where he first discovered bananas in 327 B.C.

How Bananas Got Their Name

Bananas received a new name each time a different group of people were introduced to them. Centuries ago bananas were called "banna" and "ghana" and even "funana." The Africans are credited with giving the banana its permanent name.

In India, bananas were called "Fruit of the Wise Men." According to Indian legend, wise men meditated under the shady, green leaves of banana plants.

Banana Nutrition

They are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. One banana has 16% of the fiber, 15% of the vitamin C, and 11% of the potassium we need every day for good health.

It is easy to open; it is packed with energy, fibre and vitamins contain no fat, cholesterol, or sodium; it is rich in potassium and low in calories. It is also a first-class hangover cure, stabilises blood pressure and soothes heartburn. And when you want to start weaning babies, mashed banana is the perfect food. You can even use the skins as garden fertiliser when you have finished. It is astonishingly versatile.'

On top of all this, bananas contain chemicals that stimulate the production of serotonin and dopamine, the same neurotransmitters set off by Prozac and Ecstasy. In short, bananas are healthy - and they give you a buzz. It is the ultimate food: ambrosia in a colourful skin.

Indeed some people even believe the banana is proof of God's benevolence. They point out how easy it is to handle and bite; they marvel at its ready-to-use tab for wrapper-removal; they extol its pleasing taste; and they point to its sell-by-date mechanism - its skin turns black. This is celestial confection-making at its best, it is claimed, and shows clear evidence of a deity who created the


Potassium is a mineral that is important for controlling your body's fluid balance. Potassium is also needed for muscles to contract, transmission of nerve impulses, and the proper functioning of your body's heart and kidneys. Potassium helps regulate water balance and blood pressure in cells together with other minerals like sodium, calcium, and magnesium. Research suggests that a diet high in potassium may reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke.


A couple of bananas each day could help keep high blood pressure at bay.

Doctors in India have discovered just two bananas a day can reduce blood pressure by 10% in just one week. This backs up a previous American study showing that eating five bananas a day was 50% as effective as taking prescription medication to reduce hypertension.(1)

This extraordinary ability of the banana to significantly reduce blood pressure is thought to be due to its high potassium and low sodium content.

It is widely recognized that potassium-rich food helps the body lose sodium, which can push up blood pressure. In an analysis of all current medical literature on the effects of supplementation with oral potassium on blood pressure in humans (2), the conclusion was that lack of potassium in the diet could be one of the reasons that high blood pressure occurs in the first place.

It recommended an immediate increase in the daily potassium intake, both to prevent and to treat hypertension - especially if you already have a high level of sodium salt in your diet.

Bananas are already great "super-foods", eaten by athletes in all sports to give flagging energy levels a quick but sustained energy boost. With most of Europe already including too much sodium salt (common salt) in the daily diet, it looks like the banana will soon be taking on a new role in keeping us healthy.

With an average banana containing about 400 mg of potassium - more than 10% of the recommended daily intake of this important mineral - doctors could well start recommending eating this fruit on a daily basis.

After all, a few bananas are not only a natural and far cheaper alternative to hypertensive medications, but they taste better too



Mineral Content of the Banana

NUTRIENTS per 100g ripe, edible banana






























Vitamin Content of the Banana

NUTRIENTS per 100g ripe, edible banana





Vitamin E


Thiamin (B1)


Riboflavin (B2)




Tryptophan (60)


Pyridoxine (B6)


Folic acid






Vitamin C






Quality (EC no. 2257/94)

Un-ripened green Bananas


The Fruit should be: Green and un-ripened, intact, firm, clean, practically free from visible foreign matter, sound (produce affected by rotting or deterioration such as to make it unfit for consumption is excluded), free from pests, with stalk intact, without bending, fungal damage or desiccation, with pistil removed, free from malformation or abnormal curvature of the fingers, practically free from bruises, free from damage due to low or high temperatures, free from abnormal external moisture, free from any foreign smell and/or taste, a sufficient portion of the crown of normal coloring and free from fungal infection,


Classification: First. Banana trees of good quality, the fingers will be able to present/display slight outer defects of skin and gallings that do not affect their aspect and conservation sensibly. Second. Fruits nonclassified in category first, but that respond to the minimum characteristics of quality. Defects of form and development are admitted. The fingers will be able to present/display outer defects of skin and gallings that do not affect the conservation.

Tolerances: First. A 10% in number of fingers, that do not correspond with the characteristics of the category but they are in agreement with those of the category second. Second. A 10% in number of fingers that do not correspond to the characteristics of their category, but which they are apt for the consumption excluding rotted fingers, bruised or with hurt not healed.









                                                                                                Mechanical damage









                              Rotten                                                        Fungus infected






Mugure sells bananas in

       Good quality banana ready for sale



giant plant, herbaceous perennial of the Monocotyledones group of the Musaceae family.

Ranging from wet tropical to dry tropical

from 120 to 150 mm per month is satisfactory

well-drained, deep, light, very slightly acidic soil, rich in potassium, nitrogen and magnesium since the plant has high mineral requirements

part shade, particularly the edges of forests and along roadways; too much shade can impair the development of the fruit while too much sun necessitates lots of watering

3 to 8 m, though the banana tree can reach 15 m





Musa coccinea


forms little tufts and small tulip-shaped scarlet flowers



Musa velutina / Sanguinea / Ornata / Laterita ,

Ornamental a small banana plant whose inflorescence and fruits appear in a single row, pointing upward. The male inflorescence is bright red,

Musa ingens


The biggest of the bananas and certainly the largest known grass. The false trunk, or pseudostem, can reach 15 m in height with a circumference

Musa acuminata

One of two species that were the origin of almost all known cultivated varieties. It is a thin banana tree whose inflorescence is usually horizontal and that bears many small fruits that bend upward

Musa balbisiana

The other of the two species that were the origin of almost all known cultivated varieties. This is a hardy banana tree on which the bunch hangs down or sideways and which bears large fruit.

Pisang lilin

A hardy variety that grows very easily in a large tuft. It bears a small bunch of S-shaped fruit, about as big as a finger, with delicately-flavoured flesh.

Sucrier or "Figue sucre"

the bunch weighs from 7 to 13 kg and bears 6 to 7 hands of small thin-skinned bananas, very sweet and soft textured

Gros Michel

The so-called "Panama virus" forced authorities to ban its growth on plantations


V. small and large


V. 901

V. Williams


soft with a slightly


Its flavour is reminiscent of the figue-pomme, but the skin, which is thicker, does not split when ripe. Extremely hardy and resistant

Figue Rose

Purplish skin;

 very flavourful

Red Banana

shorter, firmer and sweeter

it is ripe when the skin is flecked with many dark spots


plantain whose fruit has an extremely rounded ended

Planting bananas 

                                Banana orchard                                                     

                                                    Mature banana From Tissue             Big bananas from tissue culture


Bananas are planted from cuttings and not from seeds; almost all plants virtually are clones of each other, representing a minimum of genetic variety. Commercial interests in breeding better bananas are not high because banana is a particularly difficult crop to breed on account of its sterility and lack of seeds.

Regions where Bananas are grown


Kisii is a leading banana producing region in Kenya with an average farmer production of 17 t ha while the national farmer average production is 12 t ha. This yield however is still below the potential yield (60 t ha-1). East African Highland banana Amatoke (AAA) and Apple Banana (AB), are predominantly grown by farmers. These cultivars are low yielding and susceptible to diseases and pests.

Muranga, Nyeri, Meru, Taita taveta are the other major source of bananas in Kenya.


Marketing of Bananas in Kenya


Virtually all the markets in Kenya sell Bananas.

The most important market though is Gikomba, Wakulima retail and Korogocho Markets in Nairobi.