Mrs Olomi's banana wine

Banana wine

Mrs Olomi's banana wineA Tanzanian family business is successfully
producing wine industrially from ripe bananas.
Banana Investment was established in 1993 by husband-and-wife team Adolf and Alphoncina Olomi, who have grown the company from a backyard operation for domestic consumption to a factory producing 455,000 crates per year.
Three brands are produced:
l Raha, an opaque sweet product, with 10% alcohol content.
l Meru,  a clear, dry wine with 11% alcohol content.
l Malkia, a sweet clear wine with 11% alcohol content.
Raha is targeted at low- and medium-income consumers; Meru and Malkia are aimed at higher-income consumers.
Production involves boiling ripe bananas, extracting the juice, and the addition of sugar and yeast, and fermenting for two to three weeks. Currently, mechanisation in the factory is limited. Filling, crowning and labelling of bottles is done using semi-automatic equipment.
Although the company's products are generally referred to as banana wine, they are actually consumed as cheap alternatives to malt beer in the same outlets where beer is consumed, says Adolf Olomi. "Tanzanians generally do not have a culture of drinking wine," he says.
Raha is an affordable alternative to poor quality, unhygienic local brews such as "gongo", an illegal but widely-available product in Tanzania which contains traces of lethal methane, says Olomi.
The Olomi products are currently only sold in the northern regions of Tanzania. Plans are under way to cover the rest of the country and to export to neighbouring countries.
Olomi: +2155-27-250 6475; banana@bol.co.tz