Aims: To determine and identify the organoleptic and horticultural characteristics of elite plantains cultivars that can be explored and exploited for value addition in plantain for increased income and food security in the rain forest ecology of Nigeria.
Study Design: The study was a survey of sensory perception and evaluation of value addition in elite plantain cultivars.
Place and Duration of Study: The study was carried out twice (September and October) in 2015 in Ugep, Yakurr Local Government Area with 30 members (15 males and 15 females) each from Young Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Society and Toyojesam Multipurpose Cooperative Society in Ugep and with 30 members of Henshaw Town Fadama Community Association in Esierebom, Calabar south Local Government Area of Cross River State, respectively.
Methodology: Organoleptic characteristics of elite plantain cultivars were determined through sensory evaluation and perception of their value added products and subsequent completion of structured questionnaires which included a 5-point scale for measurement. Horticultural characteristics were determined using morphological markers (quantitative and qualitative traits measurement). Pulp hardness was measured with crossbow penetrometer while pulp/skin weight ratios were determined by taking the ratio of pulp weight to skin weight. The Genstat software was used for the analyses of data generated from the study.
Results: Showed that the overall acceptability percent index for plantains chips was 100% for Ebi Egome cultivar. Other cultivars such as Mgbeghe, Enugu black and Owomoh plantain also showed significantly high acceptability percent index for chips value addition. Elite cultivars such as Ikpobata (1.1%), Ogoni Red and kigwa brown showed significant low overall acceptability percent index. The results also showed that the overall acceptability percent index for plantains flour was 96.7% for Mgbeghe cultivar. Other cultivars such as Enugu black, Ejorgom and Ekumkwam cultivars also showed significant higher acceptability percent index for flour value addition. Cultivars such as Ikpobata (3.33%), Ogoni Red and kigwa brown showed significant low overall acceptability percent index. Results further showed that the overall acceptability percent index for value addition into plantains fufu was 97.6% for Ikpobata cultivar. Other cultivars such as Ebi egome, Ekumkwam, Mgbeghe, Enugu black and Bakpri plantain also showed significant high acceptability percent index for fufu value addition. Cultivars like Owomoh, Kainjen and Uhom scored below average in the overall acceptability percent index for value addition as fufu.
The overall acceptability percent index for Dodo-kido was 96.7% for Ebi egome and Kenkwa cultivars, 91.7% for Enugu black and 90% for Kainjen respectively. Ikpobata (cooking banana) and Bakpri (Mutant dwarf) cultivars scored significantly low values of 3.3% and 41.7% acceptability percent index for value addition as Dodo-kido. The overall acceptability percent index for value added roasted plantain was 100% for Ebi egome, Enugu black, Mgbeghe, Kainjen, Owomoh and Ejorgom cultivars. Cultivars such as Ikpobata and Bakpri showed significantly very low overall acceptability percent index for value addition as roasted plantain. Results of pulp hardness showed that cultivars such as Enugu black plantain, Mgbeghe and Kenkwa had the most hardened pulps with an average pulp hardness of 1.9 – 1.7 kg/cm³. The least pulp hardness of 1.3 – 1.1 kg/cm³ and 1.1 – 0.9 kg/cm³ were measured from Bakpri and Ikpobata cultivars respectively. The results also revealed that the highest pulp/skin weight ratio of 1.5 – 1.7 was obtained from Mgbeghe cultivar while the least pulp/skin weight ratio of 1.02 – 1.15 was obtained from Bakpri cultivar.
Conclusion: Though numerous cultivars of plantain exist in the region, not all can be used in value addition for commercial purpose if increase in income and food security is to be achieved. This research will therefore serve as a guide to farmers, processors, marketers and consumers alike in the choice of plantain cultivars for different value addition for commercial purposes and consumption. It will also serve a baseline information and guide to farmers and processors on the best way to add value to plantains especially where their own cultivars have comparative advantage over other cultivars in any particular value addition process. This will increase their income and ensure food security by reducing wastage and losses.