Kamaramasenge Banana

Ark of taste
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The Kamaramasenge Banana is a type of fruit that has been used for years to produce banana beer, mixed with honey, though it can also be eaten raw when it is mature. These bananas have been planted in eastern and northern Rwanda, and in part in the West, near Lake Kivu.

Due to the increase in population, the government has passed an agricultural bill which calls for a single crop to be planted in each region that can produce enough food for the local inhabitants. For example, in the volcanic area the locals must plant potatoes in one season and corn in the other. In the eastern province of Rwanda, and in a few sectors of the North region, the crops cultivated are bananas, carrots, and sweet potatoes. In the other parts of the country the same process is in place, using a single crop that is suitable to the soil of each region.

The current policy in Rwanda is that of avoiding any type of banana that can be used to produce beer (like Ingote, Isha, and Kamaramasenge bananas) and to increase the others that are cooked, which are also called Inyamunyu. Kamaramasenge bananas are all but gone from some regions in the North Province, as over the last 14 years people ate an abundance of raw bananas, when they were mature, and drank plenty of banana beer made from this product: today that is no longer the case. The beer made from Urwaga bananas is quite good, especially when mixed with honey, but it is more expensive than classic banana beer, since Kamaramasenge bananas are only found in small quantities.

Some of the reasons that this product risks disappearing altogether is that they are hard to find in local markets, are extremely expensive, and they are not cultivated in many regions (as they have been replaced by bananas for cooking purposes).

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