Going bananas over plantain flour

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on August 02, 2021

Plantain flour could be a viable micro enterprise for farmers

Homemakers in Karnataka have redefined the use of banana flour

It’s a trend that has caught even the Prime Minister’s attention. During his recent ‘Mann Ki Baat’ PM Narendra Modi spoke about how homemakers in Karnataka are preparing different dishes with banana flour, replacing wheat and maida.

Plantain flour — made with green bananas — is not new to the region, having been used as baby food and as a nutritional supplement for the aged.

However, what is new is the way homemakers are now using the flour in novel ways, dishing up chapatis, gulab jamun, noodles and barfi among other items.

Jackfruit activist Shree Padre has been partly responsible for the region going bananas over plantain flour. It all started when Padre posted a few lines about Jayambika, a homemaker from Thrissur, in a WhatsApp group of farmers. When she saw there was low demand for bananas, Jayambika bought several bunches and powdered them and sold them. Jeesy George of Alleppy Krishi Vijnan Kendra guided her in the preparation of the powder.

Inspired by this post, Nayana Anand, a homemaker from Tumakuru in Karnataka, too powdered the plantain growing in her backyard and tried different dishes with it.

Padre posted Nayana’s experience and it went viral. Many began experimenting with it and creating new dishes.

According to Padre, more than a hundred households have taken up the preparation of banana flour in the past one month, showing the immense potential it has.

He said banana flour preparation is especially relevant in belts where farmers face glut in production or where quality issues inhibit sale. It takes just three days to convert green bananas into flour and thus a perishable commodity can be converted into a longer use product.

Easy to prepare

Two spoons of salt have to be added to a diluted rice starch solution. Green banana, after peeling, has to be soaked in this solution for 10 minutes, after which it can be sliced and sun dried. A regular mixer grinder at home was used by the farmers to powder it to prepare the flour.

According to Padre, plantain flour could be a viable micro enterprise for farmers, and cited the example of Ajjappa Kulagod, a farmer from Belagavi district, who has begun producing it and marketing it locally.

He says the more ambitious could set up micro flour mills which could help both the farmer as well as the entrepreneur and provide local employment. All that such a unit requires by way of investment is a slicer, a drier and a pulveriser. It certainly sounds like an idea to get floured about.

Published on August 01, 2021

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