Banana Plantation in Uganda Producing Once Again Following Flooding Thanks to Supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Banana Plantation in Uganda Producing Once Again Following Flooding Thanks to Supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Bananas, whether “table” bananas for eating out of hand, in cereal or ice cream splits, and the cooking banana (plantains) are an extremely nutritional food, notes the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Banana plants are also “very easy to grow in the right place,” states the FAO, particularly in the region known as “the horse latitudes” located at about 30 degrees north and south of the equator.

In Uganda, located in the prime banana growing location, Rev. Sr. Mary Peter Namasinga/Local Superior at the Kyasira Home of Hope for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children on the shores of Lake Victoria in Entebbe, points out that “Bananas are consumed as a staple or supplementary food by the majority across much of the tribes in Uganda.”

Sr. Mary reached out to Bread and Water for Africa® for help after learning of all we do to provide assistance to our grassroots partners in sub-Saharan Africa who operate orphanages, pleading for help writing to executive director Beth Tessema, “We are kindly requesting your funding agency to have mercy on us and help us to overcome this crisis by helping us financially through this crisis please.”

Bread and Water for Africa® was able to provide funding to plant 600 banana plants thanks to the generosity of our supporters from across the U.S. who answered Sr. Mary’s call for help.

For many years, the Kyasira home for orphaned and vulnerable children relied on its many acres of banana crops to not only provide nutritional sustenance for the children, but also generate income for the administrative costs of operating the home.

“Due to the wide variety of bananas, they contribute over 20 percent of caloric requirements and constitute two-thirds of per-capita food production,” Sr. Mary reported. “As food security crops, bananas are potentially important sources of minerals and vitamins as well.

“While generally serving as a food security crop, bananas are also important income sources,” she noted. “Banana is a most important staple crop in Uganda…given the massive appetite for steamed mashed cooking bananas –  Matooke –  in Uganda.”

But that was prior to 2020 when the Kyasira home, and its banana plantation, located near the shores of Lake Victoria which overflowed its banks flooding the home’s buildings and destroying its banana crops.

NASA reported on “Lake Victoria’s Rising Waters” in May 2023, noting that “Months of intense rain have swollen Africa’s largest lake to the highest levels in decades. Floodwaters swamped farmland, inundated homes and displaced tens of thousands of people.

“The 2020 floods displaced hundreds of thousands of people and disrupted transportation, drinking water, sanitation, and power systems,” NASA reported, citing news reports.

“We grew acres of banana, but unfortunately that was all washed away by the overflow of Lake Victoria,” Sr. Mary told us in her request for grant funding to restore the banana plantation and relocate it further from the lake’s shores to a higher elevation where it cannot be flooded again.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization notes that bananas “are very good for us. They provide a quick boost of energy and are a good source of vitamins C and B6.”

Bananas, says the FAO, are “very easy to grow in the right place,” such as in Uganda with moderate rainfall and moderate warmth.

Banana plants take eight to 10 months from initial planting to first harvest, however the FAO notes that bananas are grown and harvested all year round and can produce fruits from three to 20 years on average. (The main plant is cut away after harvesting, and the “daughter” becomes the main plant.)

Bread and Water for Africa® food sustainability program benefits thousands each year in countries including Malawi and Sierra Leone by providing training in best agricultural practices to help smallholder farmers increase the amount they are able to harvest on the small plots of land.

Through our agriculture and food sustainability program, hundreds of female and youth farmers not only receive the training they need, but also the items such as tools and supplies, seeds, fertilizer and pesticides to ensure successful harvests year after year to feed their families – and even generate a surplus to sell at local markets to generate income which oftentimes is used to pay the school fees for their children.

In addition, in Tanzania, thanks as always to our supporters, we were able to provide funding for our partner in the country, the Watoto Wa Africa (Children of Africa) orphanage, to purchase nearly 20 acres of land which has been plowed and planted with sorghum grain (a nutritious food rich in protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins and minerals), sweet potatoes, greens and more.

And the biggest news of all this month from the Kyasira Home of Hope – “We expect to have big bananas by June,” Sr. Mary predicted at the start of this year.

With her prediction today realized, she wants the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® who helped bring the revitalized banana plantation to fruition, to know:

“Our life has changed from poverty to happiness, because… we’re expecting to have enough food in future.

“Thank you so much for the love and support you have shown to us since you started working with us. We do really appreciate everything you have done for us.”

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