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Tanzania plantains (Musa paradisiaca) are hybrid cooking bananas that though sometimes turn yellow, are mostly green even at the ripeness stage. Their Swahili name depends on the purpose of use such that there are ndizi kaanga and supu ndizi, to name but a few. There are about 0.48 million hectares of banana plantation land in Tanzania, a substantial part of it growing plantains. Most of the fields under the crop are in the northern areas, particularly Moshi and Kilimanjaro regions dominated by the Chagga people.
Despite being a staple food in the whole of Uganda, and a common plant in Rwanda and Tanzania, the plantain originated in south-east Asia. It is interbred from M. acuminate and M. balbisiana species of banana.
Some of the common culinary terms that surround Tanzania plantains include: supu ya ndizi which translates to ‘plantain soup’ and ndizi kaanga which means ‘fried plantains.’ There is also a meal by the name Kishumba which is a mixture of green plantains and beans. It is popular with the people of the north-east of the country where the cuisine has its origins.
In terms of nutrition, plantains have higher concentration of vitamin C than the sweet banana at 30 percent of the daily value. It also consists of substantial levels of vitamin A at 22 percent of the daily needs. The level of magnesium is 9 percent for the promotion of a healthy bone structure. The amount of dietary fiber stands at 9 percent of the daily needs while that of sugar is 15 grams per 100 grams. The potassium concentration stands at 14 percent of the daily requirements for maintenance of the blood electrolytes, control of blood pressure and carrying out diuretic functions. Either in roast or fried food, the plantain supplies 14 percent of starch’s daily value.
We harvest Tanzania plantain when it has reached 75 percent maturity. This means that even sweet banana that is unripe can serve the purpose. We usually carry out the harvest about one week to a fortnight before the fruit ripens. We use sickles to bring down the hands close to arm level, and then use sharp knives to incise the stalk a few inches from the bunch end. Our apron-clad worker carries off one bunch at a time to the cart while taking care not to drop the precious hands or spill latex on his outfit.
We keep the plantains away from polythene, which may cause an internal formation of latex. We also preserve the fruits in bunches for uniform sorting.
We pack Tanzania plantains in corrugated boxes. At other times we use wooden crates with sufficient breathing vents. We have a basic 12-kilo cardboard carton that also comes with sufficient holes at the top side for ventilation. For every short finger bunch, we put long fingers in-between to allow proper aeration in the spaces between them during transit. Sometimes we also pack the separate fingers in bulk one-layer bins. We finalize the shipment with handy information on the number of pieces in each carton, the net weight, the shipping date and the country of origin.
We store Tanzania plantains at the temperature level of 13.2 degrees Celsius at the minimum. We keep them humid at 85 to 95 percent. This is sufficient to keep the fruits fresh for the next two weeks. We perpetuate this temperature during the transportation phase to the airport in Dar-es-Salaam courtesy of our special trucks with controlled environment interiors.
In short, with our dedication to providing ndizi kaanga at their greenest stage of maturity, you no longer have to search for quality Tanzania plantains. We source them for our clients from certified farmers who have trained under Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). All our produce is therefore of virtually low residual levels. You can request for tonnage that suits your needs as we source the fruits months before the due date. To cap it all, our prices are pocket-friendly as we design them with the importer in mind. Make an order today!
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