How much banana is used as livestock feed?

According to the FAO statistics (1988 FAO Production Yearbook), approximately 12–15 million tonnes of bananas and 7–9 million tonnes of plantains could be available each year for use as livestock feed.


What are the banana and plantain products available for livestock feeding?

Every part of the banana and plantain plant (except the roots and suckers) can be and have been used to feed livestock in various parts of the world. Most of the research work on this subject has been carried out in Latin America and certain Asian countries; including India and the Philippines.

From the literature it is apparent that the following materials have been fed with varying degrees of success to various types of livestock:

i. Fresh, green, chopped or unchopped green banana fruits with peels.
ii. Ripe, raw whole banana or plantain fruits.
iii. Dehydrated, sliced, milled, whole, green bananas or plantains.
iv. Cooked, green, whole banana and plantain fruits.
v. Dehydrated, milled, green and ripe plantain or banana peels.
vi. Chopped, fresh, green plantain and banana fruits ensiled with molasses, grass, legume, rice bran or any other products that will increase their feeding value.
vii. Whole, fresh, green leaves, fed directly to animals or after being ensiled with an easily fermentable carbohydrate such as molasses.
viii. Banana and Plantain stalk or pseudostem, chopped and fed raw, or ensiled with easily fermentable carbohydrates, e.g. molasses.

What is the best way to feed bananas and plantains to livestock?

The best way of feeding fresh green banana or plantain fruits is to chop them and sprinkle some salt on the slices since the fruits are very low in the in-organic nutrients. Cattle and pigs relish this material. For ensiling purposes, the chopped green bananas or plantains are preferred to the ripe fruits which lose some of their dry matter and, in particular sugars during ensiling. Similarly, green fruits are more easily dried than ripe fruits which are very difficult to completely dehydrate.


Why are bananas and banana by-product substitutes an economical alternative to livestock feeds?

Feed cost account for 60 to 80% of livestock production costs (Ademosun, 1976) and the energy component of feed accounts for 60 to 70% and protein component 14 to 20% of feed costs. Since animals eat primarily to satisfy their energy needs, the energy source must be available, adequate and cheap.

Fresh Bananas and Plantains have a high water content (78–80%), with the dry matter consisting mainly of starch (72%) which turns into simple sugars during ripening. The remaining material has a low content of protein, vitamins, and inorganic nutrients; the protein is very deficient in lysine, methionine and tryptophane. The fruits also contain varying levels of active tannins, the factor that is responsible for the astringency of raw, green bananas. The tannins reduce as ripening progresses because they are in the polymerized form. The tannins inhibit enzyme action and in particular the proteases, which reflects in the reduced digestibility of the crude protein fraction when raw green bananas are fed.


Why is it better to have fruit and fruit by-products as cereal substitutes in animal feeding?

The energy value of banana meal/ powder substitutes is generally not far from that of cereals (rice, oat, barley). Thus they are a good substitute. Secondly, cereal importation is an expensive option. In this form, the rate of passage in animals is quicker than other forms so digestibility and energetic value of starch in dehydrated bananas is lower. Animals like pigs exhibited, in some studies, less fat and no exuding meat.