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Information @ a Glance

General Information

  • Banana beer is an alcoholic beverage made from fermentation of mashed bananas.
  • There are two types of banana that are used for banana beer: the harsh tasting igikashi and the milder tasting igisahira.
  • The beer is important nutritionally and is rich in vitamin B due to the yeast content.
  • Banana beer is offered at each ceremony and banana plants serve for decoration of wedding places.


  • Banana beer is made from bananas, mixed with a cereal flour (often sorghum flour) and fermented to an orange, alcoholic beverage. It is sweet and slightly hazy with a shelf life of several days under correct storage conditions.
  • The production of beer from bananas in East Africa consists of four main stages: forced ripening green bananas, pressure and mixture, recovery of filtered juice and fermentation, and classification, filtration and cooling.
  • Banana beer processing involves 6 main steps; peeling of bananas, extraction of the juice from the bananas, filtration, dilution, fermentation and packaging.
  • Only ripe bananas (Musa species) should be used to make the beer as these have a high sugar content, which is necessary for the fermentation.


  • Gikongoro is the major market for the beer bananas and beer produced in neighboring Cyangugu.
  • Beer banana is a high value beverage, which commands a large and stable rural and urban
  • Banana beer is competitive with commercial beverages on the basis of cost at prevailing salary levels in Uganda.
  • Banana beer is common in Kigali, Cyangugu, Kibuye and Gisenyi. Gikongoro is the major market for the beer bananas and beer produced in neighboring Cyangugu.


  • In some parts of the region such as Rwanda and Burundi, however beer banana production is a dominant commercial activity and in these countries beer banana constitutes 64% of annual beer production.
  • Beer bananas are the most common cultivars in three growing areas: Kivu Lake (85 to 90% of cultivars), Cyangugu (60 to 80%) and, Kigali Rural (60 to 70%).
  • In Central and East Africa, the juice from the ripe fruit of varieties known as “beer bananas” may be drunk fresh or fermented to make a beer with a low alcohol content and short shelf-life.
  • In Uganda and Sudan, banana beer is distilled to produce banana alcohol, or “waragi”.

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