By Urshula Jim
A RIGO farmer has revealed the importance of wrapping banana bunches with leaves.
Peter Rotona from Libuna village in Rigo, Central, is a commercial farmer.
He said it was a traditional method of making the bananas to be fully ready.
It also protects the bananas, especially the ripe and half-ripe from being plucked at by birds.
The Rigo bananas are called Samoa in their local dialect.
The 25-year-old man said the practice of wrapping banana bunches using leaves had been practiced for a very long time and was still practiced today.
He said banana wrapping was not an easy task.
“The skill was passed on from our ancestors to our grandfathers, our fathers and now to us.
“Today, some women also wrap bananas,” Rotona said.
“It’s a big task because of the fact that the bunches are still hanging and we use home-made ladders to stand on and wrap the leaves around bunches using the canes to tie the leaves in place.”
A tree stem is used to support the banana plant while the bunch was wrapped.
He said they cut bush canes to tie the banana leaves around the bunches.
“The banana leaves are cut in the morning, dried in the sun and used as the wrapper.
“We don’t just get the banana leaves and wrap, we dry them first because green leaves will break while we wrap them around the bunches.
“When we don’t wrap the bunches, the ripe and half-ripe bananas are eaten by birds. When that happens, it reduces our production and revenues,” Rotona said.
He said their livelihood depended entirely on commercial farming.
“It is the only source of income for those that are in the village and the unemployed.
“I make gardens, harvest and sell the fresh produce to support my family.
“My wife assists me to take the fresh produce to the markets. Our relatives also assist during harvesting season,” he said.
He also farms corn, pumpkin and aibika.
He said he was a member of the Kunama Cooperative Society but they were all now farming individually.
Rotona said there were issues affecting them such as fencing, water supply, road access, and more.
“When it rains, the roads are bad so we buy people to carry our fresh produce to the main highway to get on PMVs.”
The pigs destroy their gardens because the fences are made from tree branches.
“We are in need of proper fences, good road conditions to access the markets because we supply the city with fresh produce,” Rotona said.
By Urshula Jim