If a buyer of matooke (plantain) is not conscious, it is likely that he will end up buying the wrong type.
Alex Sekalala, a matooke trader and the chairman of matooke traders in Matugga Market, who has been in the business for the last 15 years, gives you tips on how to buy right.
Sekalala says a customer can tell the quality of matooke by its variety. He however notes that it is not easy to differentiate the varieties by merely looking at the matooke. He advises that the customer asks the trader.
Sekalala says the best variety is Nakitembe because it is soft when cooked and is commonly used in customary rites like initiation of twins in Buganda. He says Kibuzi variety comes next, followed by Musakara.
“Kitika variety is the worst. Even when it is fully mature it remains hard when cooked”, Sekalala says.
Sekalala says you can also tell the quality of matooke by the area they are grown. He says although Mbarara is the largest producer in Uganda, Masaka has the best quality matooke. Mbarara, Singo come next with Kasese being the last.
“If a customer wants to know the ripening lifespan of particular matooke, he has to trust the trader for that information” Agnes Nakitende a trader at Kalerwe advises.
She says the other alternative is to ask the trader to break a piece from one matooke finger.
“If the matooke is yellowish on the inside, then it will most likely get ripe within two days. If it is white on breaking then it can go for about a week without ripening”, Nakitende adds.