A youth group in Murang’a county in Central Kenya have created a niche market for Banana wine. Following a recent market glut of bananas due to good rains, the innovative farmers decided to raise capital to establish a winery and brew bananas. The Kihoti Banana wine makers association has been so successful that they are now negotiation with a South African Corporation for export since the South Africans are known to love their wine. The east African market is also developing a liking for wine as a result of rise in incomes and more awareness of the healthier alternative to beer and/or liquor.
After the initial success, the group is now raising funds to build a 30 million processing plant in the area and the just raised 10% and microfinanciers and banks will lend to them at low interest rates. They have even branded it shujaa power meaning hero/brevity power which has been welcomed by the market very dearly.
Farmers take the raw bananas to the winery that has a ripening gallery. Here the bananas are put in a 6 foot hole where fire is lit on top to provide extra warmth for the ripening process to take place more faster.
After 3-5 days the bananas have ripened and are juiced. The juice is the mixed with the fermentation catalyst, grounded sorghum which hastens the process naturally without using any chemicals like in the fermentation of beer and other brews.
The mixture is then returned into the hot hole and left for fermenting for almost 2 days when it is cooled and bottled in 330ml and 500ml recyclable bottles.
A 330ml bottle retails at KES 200 in Nairobi and most of the farmers are realizing up to 40% increase in revenues due to the wine project.
Personally I don’t drink but I would strongly recommend the Shujaa Power wine for everyone since it is a Kenyan brand and most importantly, a healthier alternative to ‘Yokozuna’ and Kane extra, what do you think? Feel free to comment below