In Summary

The presence of such institutions in the country may provide opportunity for empowering local communities.

Uganda’s performance as an innovation economy has been improving consistently, particularly in comparison with other sub-Saharan African countries. Since 2015, the Global Innovation Index (GII) has ranked Uganda as an ‘innovation out performer.

The Independence Day celebrations cake that was cut by the President and other government officials was not just the usual cake, but one made from advanced innovation and value addition and technology of the banana flour. This was a remarkable plus for the nation’s support to value addition and a dynamic move by Presidential Initiative on Banana Industrial Development to prove to the nation that executive cakes can be made from our own bananas.

I am certain there was a lot of expertise applied to produce the cake. But what was so special with the cake? Was it just an act of innovation and science? Surely, the banana flour, which was used to bake the cake that was cut during the 55th Independence Day in Bushenyi District is called Raw Tooke Flour. It is globally known as the green banana flour, which is renown for its inherent soluble fibre and highest level of resistant starch. The cake was a great innovation by the banana project.

It also indicates a key improvement of the country to celebrate its transformation from traditional food stuff into a value added industrial product.
As part of the historical moment to showcase the journey that dates way back in the early 90s, a time when Uganda consistently experienced significant postharvest losses in banana and the misconception about matooke as having little calorie value. This fallacy was demystified by innovative Rev Prof Florence Isabirye Muranga, who also is the founding executive director of the project through her research on matooke.

This was an impressive collection, which can be termed as a supply chain network to give back to communities. The banana industry can represent a positive externality in producing a high quality industrial commodity, given the nutraceutical properties of Uganda’s banana flour branded as TOOKE, uniquely processed from the East African Highland Banana.

The presence of such institutions in the country may provide opportunity for empowering local communities. This can be done through setting up bakeries to skill people, especially women and youth, who are the majority jobless. This is an economically viable venture with a potential for good profit margins for Tooke Flour brands and Ugandans’ support for ‘Buy Uganda Build Uganda’ (BUBU) policy, which encourages Ugandans to appreciate and buy Ugandan products. This can contribute to employment creation, increased tax revenues transfer of technologies and economic growth.
Jane Uwera
Kampala