Thursday, 15 April 2010


By S. Olanrewaju Disu .

The plantain is a banana plant. It is an angular, yellowish-green, starchy fruit. It is edible when cooked, and it’s a very important staple food throughout the state, nay, throughout the tropics. Botanically, the plantain is known as “Musa paradisiacal”.

In Lagos Metropolitan Area markets, the plantain is not found in every market. It is usually available in peculiar markets of the metropolis, e.g., the “Idi-Oro Market”, the “Ogba – Sunday – Sunday Market”, and the “Okokomaiko Markets” along the Badagry Expressway. The reason is logistic. Plantain fruits come in bunches or spike form – 2ft. long or more. Moving them from farms to the markets requires considerable labor and transportation, with its attendant costs. Therefore, selected markets are used as “depots” for whole-sale or retail sale of plantains.

The plantain is available for sale all-year round, because of its massive cultivation, both professionally by big-time farmers and also by gardeners and household planters.

The fact that people enjoy plantain’s edibleness cannot be overemphasized. Plantain can be roasted and sold at strategic urban centers. Roasted plantain is known as “boli”. Plantain is also fried for sale at street corners. Fried plantain is known as “dodo”. Various ethnic groups in the State eat plantain in one form or the other. Ripe, unripe and even over-ripe plantain fruits serve one purpose or the other!

Traditionally, the plantain plant is very useful, too. Herbalists use the green leaf of plantain-tree to treat diabetes. Also, they use the whitish fluid that oozes when plantain leaf is cut to treat fresh wounds. The juice stops the flow of blood very quickly.

Finally, it must be mentioned that the sap of the plantain plant is a potent herbal juice that can be used to cure a variety of illnesses locally.

Photographs : (A)—Roasted plantain, “boli” at “Iyana Ejigbo” Market.

(B) ---- Wholesale & Retail Sale of Plantain at the “Ogba Sunday Market”.

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