Uganda is the Banana Republic of Africa – 50 plus varieties.
Uganda goes wild, grows, and consumes more Bananas than any other African Country.
Uganda is Africa’s Banana Republic – Here Bananas Rule
Uganda is the Banana Republic of Africa – more Bananas are grown and consumed here in the Pearl of Africa per capita than elsewhere. Uganda produces more Bananas than any other nation in the World but India. Ugandans consume more Bananas than anyone else. No one else even comes close to the number of Bananas Ugandans consume daily.
Ugandans love their Bananas, especially in the Central Area of Uganda, where families consume various types daily for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, and Dessert.
Most Western Visitors to Uganda do not realize that Bananas in Uganda are much more than a dessert or snack. Plantain Bananas are the primary food source most Ugandans prefer, especially in the country’s central area.
Beyond that, Bananas are used to make juice, Beer, wine, flour, cosmetics, and the potent Waragi Gin.
When it comes to the Banana Plant, nothing is wasted. The leaves make the roofs of homes, and banana fibers are used in clothing, decorations, and handicrafts that you can buy…You will enjoy finding out why Uganda is the Banana Republic of Africa.
Consumption-wise, no one in the World beats Uganda. Ugandans eat six hundred pounds of Bananas per capita per year, and in comparison, Americans consume twenty-seven pounds of Bananas per capita. No wonder Uganda grows more Bananas (mostly Plantain, locally called Matooke Bananas) than any other African country. It is number two only to mighty India in the production of Bananas.
Uganda is the Banana Republic of Africa
Bananas are an essential crop in Uganda and play a significant role in the country’s economy and daily life. Uganda is one of the largest banana-producing countries in the World, with bananas being a staple food for many Ugandans. Here are some critical points about bananas in Uganda:
Everywhere you look in Uganda. Wherever you turn, you will come across beloved Bananas of one kind or another. In many regions of Uganda, they are used in almost every meal prepared in various ways.
Uganda grows more Bananas in the World than India. Uganda is truly the Banana Republic of Africa, and few Bananas are exported to other countries. When it comes to Bananas, the focus is on home consumption.
Most Ugandans go to the Garden and cut down some Matooke. They fell the whole plant with the fruit on it to take it down, and in due season you will see a fresh green stalk growing up, replacing the one cut down.
Uganda is the Banana Republic of Africa, producing nine million tons of bananas annually. Regarding world production, only vast India exceeds Uganda’s Banana output. One needs to put that into perspective. Uganda is a country that is about the same size as the state of Oregon. Just think about it, Uganda, a small country is the second-largest grower of Bananas in the World. No wonder we believe it is a “real Banana Republic.
The Average Ugandan consumes 750 grams to One Kilo per Day.
Uganda is indeed Africa’s Banana Republic which is not said belittlingly. Still, this comparatively small country grows an abundance of them and consumes more Bananas than anyone else in the World.
Unbelievable as it may sound, the average Ugandan eats from 750 grams to one kilo of Bananas per day. They eat the Matooke Variety, cooking bananas (steamed-boiled mashed and served with meat, fish, chicken, peanut sauce, etc.).
They also consume quantities of sweet-eating and roasted bananas over a charcoal fire – said: “Uganda is the True Banana Republic.” If you come to Uganda and do not taste its various Bananas or Banana dishes, from cooked Matooke to Kabalagala Pancakes or a Gonja roasted Banana, you have missed authentic Uganda.
Travel most anywhere; you will be amazed by Uganda’s scenery and greenness – no wonder it has been called the Evergreen State of East Africa. Drive through the countryside, and you will notice that much of the country’s green fields are fields and fields of bananas with their large, soft green leaves.
Bananas are a part of daily life for most Ugandans, and that begins in the Garden and continues to the kitchen and a plate. You will find one kind, such as finger-sized or more giant eating Bananas. There are the Gonja Roasting ones, which are pretty delicious and a snack anytime. Of course, the mainstay of many Ugandan homes is the green Matooke. Lastly, the exotic Red variety you will find here and there.
Not only are Bananas used for food, but in the making of Waragi Gin, Juice, and wine., The leaves are used in cooking so that the Matooke Bananas can steam. Leaves cover the food, and even wrap food in the leaves for cooking, even the famous Luwombo Chicken Dish.
Uganda, the Banana Republic of Africa, awaits you. You have not visited Uganda unless you have eaten Bananas in the Pearl of Africa-Enjoy Uganda-plus. Do not forget all the other products made from fruit, fibers, leaves, and stems…no matter where you go in Uganda; you will find something made from Bananas. The fantastic thing is that Bananas did not originate in Uganda and were brought from afar but have found a perfect and appreciative home here.
The many and varied uses of Bananas in Uganda
Matoke (Matooke) Bananas – Uganda’s Daily Bread:
In Uganda, the staple food of the day is Matoke Bananas. Rice, Potatoes are eaten, but Matoke wins hands down. Matoke is loved and preferred by Ugandans.
Each morning huge trucks roll into the markets bringing in hundreds of stalks of Matoke Bananas. Ugandans will buy it by the stem or enough to make a meal and purchase Banana leaves used for cooking.
The Matoke Bananas are peeled, steamed, mashed, and served with G-Nut Sauce, Meat or Fish, and Beans. G-Sauce is popular and made from Ground Nuts, a local name for peanuts.
A Ugandan has not had a good day without eating much Matoke. Every family grows its Matoke (Matooke) Bananas in the country, but you pay cash for them in the city. Cheap, they are not, one reason is the popularity of the food.
For the Visitor on Safari, you have not visited Uganda until you have a plate of Matoke Bananas.
Sweet Dessert Eating Bananas:
These are Varieties eaten as a dessert, like a candy bar as a pick-me-up. The main types include Bogoya & Sukali Ndizi( Apple Bananas), and the latter are finger-sized.
They are often served at hotels with your breakfast. You can buy them everywhere since vendors abound that sell them, including carrying them on their heads in a basket.
We even have roadside vendors selling them at bus stops, in towns near Fueling Stations, markets, and other places that will surprise and delight you.
The taste of these Bananas most finds the best they have ever eaten anywhere, either at home or in their travels. We often have Bananas for our clients in our Safari vehicles to enjoy some of the Taste of Uganda while traveling between parks.
You have not visited Uganda unless you have eaten the delicious Bananas grown here. A bunch of Bananas will not last the day in a Ugandan Home.
Gonja – Roasted Bananas:
Gonja Bananas are sold on the streets by vendors as a snack. They are firmer Bananas, yet sweet, great roasted over charcoal, where they acquire a unique flavor.
It is not done here, but Gonja Bananas are fantastic sliced as part of a stir-fry dish. You can even add some pineapple chunks to the word, such as chicken and vegetables, and find it delightful.
Gonja Bananas also make an excellent side dish instead of Rice, or Irish, the name for potatoes in Uganda.
We think a roasted Gonja would be great when having an Ankole Beef Streak instead of potatoes and a side dish to a whole tilapia. Great flavor combinations that we have tried for ourselves and found success.
Some Lodges, especially Luxury Lodges, try innovative fusion dishes, and sometimes the Gonja Banana is a winner. In our opinion, the Gonja Banana has excellent potential beyond its current limited use.
Kabalagala Banana Pancakes and other Baked Goods:
Banana in Baked Goods, the most popular being the Kabagala Pancakes, is a favorite breakfast treat beyond Bread or porridge. Ugandans certainly do not take advantage of Bananas regarding Baked Goods.
You do not find things like Banana Muffins. Instead, there are the famous Queen Cakes. You do not find Banana Pancakes, and you do not find Banana Flavored Ice-cream; much fewer Bananas are used in a Banana Split.
Kabalagala Pancakes are the most popular item where Bananas are used, and one could add a bit more. Some upmarket hotels serve Banana Pancakes with slices or mashed sweet Bananas inside. A dough-covered Gonja Banna, in our opinion, could be a great item. Some lodges have started to serve their recipe for Banana Pancakes with success.
One of the reasons one does not see diversity in pancakes is because it costs more and artificial flavors are cheaper. Visiting Uganda, a few Kabalagala Pancakes would hit the spot for you.
Beverages made from Bananas -Juice-Beer-Waragi-Wine:
Ugandans like their drink, and for many, what is consumed is Banana based. Local Beer made from Bananas sipped with reeds out of a standard pot does not matter. The favorite, however, remains Waragi. The name comes from War Gin and is a distilled product that Tourists can easily purchase from Ugandans like Triple Distilled Waragi Brands such as Uganda Waragi or Leading. (note-commercial products do not always use Bananas).
There is no famous commercial Banana Beer in Uganda today, but Wine and Waragi are readily available. Banana Juice as a stand-alone is more made at home and not sold in supermarkets.
The commercial Banana Wine Cottage industry is rearing its head, and the quality of the products has dramatically increased. Ugandans, as of yet, have stuck to the traditional Banana Wine that is locally made.
The one Banana Beverage that has gotten an International following is Uganda Waragi. It is sold in Europe and North America, and we suggest you try it with a Krest Bitter Lemon Soda.
It is not only the Banana itself that is used but also the leaves and fibers used in making souvenirs: bags, bowls, and baskets made from Banana Fiber. Greetings are made from dried Banana leaves, including great Christmas Cards.
You will find that many cultural craft items are made from Banana leaves and fibers, such as various Christmas depictions. Christmas Tree Decorations and more.
Placemats, table mats, bags, and purses are all made from Banana related products. Uganda even has a Banana Leaf Plate manufacturer that makes plates better for the environment than plastic ones.
The various eating Bananas were not indigenous to the country. They were brought through trade from Asia, like mangoes, pineapple, and other fruits.
The wild, indigenous kind was poisonous. However, Uganda has perfected the Banana for what you can do with it.
Uganda – Africa’s Banana Republic Where Bananas Sustain a Nation:
Uganda, the Banana Republic of Africa, is home to 40,000 million people who like their Bananas more than any other nation.
Bananas are seen as the Manna from heaven. You may agree as you eat a delicious Chicken Luwombo with Matooke Bananas. Some better lodges use Bananas in one form, including in Stir-Fry Dishes and delicious desserts.
We know Uganda and how to incorporate culture and a Taste of Uganda into your Safari, no matter your dietary preferences. Get a taste of the Banana Republic of Uganda while on Safari with us in the Pearl of Africa.
Bananas are the mainstay of Ugandans, whether an everyday meal or Christmas dinner; bananas are part of the meal like the famed Luwombo Chicken Dish that is proudly wrapped in Banana leaves. Something that you, as a visitor, have to try.
By the time you leave Uganda, – you will understand why Uganda is the Banana Republic of Africa.