Investor launches wine made from Kisii bananas

Nandi Deputy Governor Dr Yulita Cheruiyot (left) and Vicky Green Farms Africa Ltd Director Vicky Onderi launch the Kisii indigenous banana wine. [ Eric Abuga, Standard]

The rich potential of banana farming in Kisii has attracted an investor who has started a venture to create wine from bananas.

The move is a breakthrough in the banana production value chain which has the potential to create jobs and opportunities for thousands of farmers growing and selling the crop.

Vicky Green Farms Africa Limited has launched its pioneer Kisii indigenous banana wine which aims to transform value addition to bananas.

The ‘Soovita Banana Wine‘ is loaded with potassium manganese and vitamins and is made from ripened Kisii bananas. 

The company‘s directors, Vicky Onderi and Brian Muturi, say they have been struggling for the last 10 years to transform the dream into a reality.

“We visited several countries in our quest to achieve our dream. We are yet to fully commercialise because we are yet to meet a few legal requirements. We are glad that we have made a step towards having a complete banana value chain,“ said Ms Vicky.

Nandi Deputy Governor Dr Yulita Cheruiyot(left) and Vicky Green Farms Africa Limited Director Vicky Onderi during the launch of the banana wine. [Eric Abuga, Standard]

Muturi says the banana industry has great potential to boost the country‘s economy. „We had lost hope. The returns on banana farming could be huge, we should embrace it.“

Nandi Deputy Governor Dr Yulita Cheruiyot says the Lake Region Economic Bloc member counties are focused on improving agricultural production through value addition and agro-processing to enhance farmers‘ earnings, create job opportunities, and also to promote competitiveness in emerging markets.

“In pursuit of the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda, the banana value chain has several products; manufacturers can have banana juice, flour, and fibre. One can have weaves and wigs from bananas. Let us diversify our manufacturing.“

Vicky Green Farms had also invested Sh30 million in a tissue culture laboratory which is certified by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service and able to produce clean planting material for the region. 

“There has been an increasing demand for the tissue culture banana and orange-fleshed sweet potato now that the farmers and county governments understand the benefits of certified clean planting material,“ Ms Vicky explains.

Tissue culture (TC) is the cultivation of plant cells, tissues, or organs on specially formulated nutrient media.  In Kenya, as in many parts of the tropical and subtropical developing world, bananas are a highly important food crop.