Gendered Matooke product profile in Uganda

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The WP1 Gendered Food Product Profile for Matooke in Uganda reflects the final step ( step 5) of an interdisciplinary five-step methodology developed to identify demand for quality characteristics among diverse user groups along the food chain ( Forsythe et al., 2022). This methodology includes: step 1) interdisciplinary state of knowledge of the product ; step 2) gendered food mapping, which includes participatory research with men and women in rural communities regarding their product preferences and priorities; step 3) participatory processing diagnosis and quality characteristics ; and step 4) consumer testing studies in rural and urban areas of the product using contrasted RTB varieties.
Results from step 1 and 2 have been published in Kenneth Akankwasa, Pricilla Marimo, Robooni Tumuhimbise, Moreen Asasira, Elizabeth Khakasa, Innocent Mpirirwe, Uli Kleih, Lora Forsythe, Geneviève Fliedel, Dominique Dufour & Kephas Nowakunda (2021). The East African highland cooking bananas ‘Matooke’ preferences of farmers and traders: Implications for variety development. International Journal of Food science and Technology, 56(3), 1124-1134.

The WP1 Gendered Food Product Profile for Matooke in Uganda has been agreed by a multidisciplinary team based on the evidence collected on preferred quality characteristics at each step and assessed for their potential harm and benefit for women, based on an adapted G+ tool (publication pending by Forsythe et al.).

‘Matooke’ is a staple food made from highland cooking bananas in the Great Lakes region of East Africa. Improvement of bananas for resistance to pests and diseases has been a major breeding objective of the national breeding programme. This product profile for matooke presents the quality characteristics among different user groups in Uganda basing on a participatory and interdisciplinary method. The Matooke Food Product Profile is essentially a description of a high-quality food product from an evolving list of sensory, processing and agronomic characteristics that reflects different preferences among users from a gender perspective. This involved aggregating evidence on preferences with farmers, traders, processors and consumers, where important characteristics and their indicators were identified and prioritised, and finally, agreed by a multidisciplinary team together with a gendered livelihoods assessment.
Key raw material characteristics identified include: big fingers for they ease the preparation process (easy to peel, high peel yield and less time used), big bunch (high market value, food for home use). Creamy pulp colour, shiny green finger colour and disease free are other important characteristics. The gender analysis of the final list of characteristics, which used an adapted G+ tool, resulted in big bunch being de-prioritised. Although this characteristic was noted as essentially important, it can place a labour burden especially on women in cases of harvesting, carrying to their homes for preparation for example, if women carry for long distances from farms for home consumption/paying to carry on bicycle, need for technology promotional adjustments (need to prioritise an attainable and acceptable threshold.
At processing, the creamy pulp colour, easy to peel, big fingers, soft peel, straight fingers and relatively low sap were preferred. Low sap saves both time and money in terms of washing the pulp, soap to clean the sticky sappy hands and utensils, and too much sap would alter the colour of both pulp and mashed food. However, some sap is important and most varieties in the market have varying sap content. Therefore prioritising breeding more for this this trait might result in undesired amount of sap undesired by users.
At the end product stage, soft texture, good smell, yellow colour, good matooke taste and holding together when mashed were the most important end product characteristics. Through the gender assessment, it was learned that a yellow colour might be attained at first boiling/steaming, it may require additional time and fuel (simmering) for some varieties, which may seem costly in terms of time and money. (2021-09-01)

Nowakunda, Kephas; Akankwasa, Kenneth; Khakasa, Elizabeth; Asasira, Moreen; Kisakye, Sarah; Arnaud, Elizabeth; Mukasa, Yusuf; Nuwamanya, Ephraim; Uwimana, Brigitte; Bugaud, Christophe; Dahdough, Layal; Bouniol, Alexandre; Ricci, Julien.

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