Villages Connected Blog


the importance of matooke: Jamiah’s picture by Caroline Spira
February 7, 2012, 12:36 am
Filed under: Media Co-op Members | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Villages Connected media co-op members, both in their original training last June and in their ongoing activities now, create different types of media that tell stories about subjects which are important to them and their community.

Take the picture below from co-op member Jamiah.

@Jamiah / Villages Connected

“The picture was under the theme “The strength of our community”.  It is showing matooke and a bike. That picture was taken in Kabundaire at the roadside where matooke sellers gather. 

As the culture dictates, the staple food for the Batooro is Matooke. [In matooke trade] the major people involved are the middlemen who use their bicycles to [bring] the matooke to [the market and] their final consumers.  Also the reason for taking the roadside matooke sellers is because of reduced taxes collected from them as compared to the sellers in the main Market.

The picture is important because it shows food items we have in the region.  It informs the visitors that when you come [to Fort Portal], you will leave knowing the taste of our staple food: matooke.”

co-op member Jamiah

To better understand the strength of this photo – because it’s not just a pretty food photo and a description to take lightly – you must know who the photographer is.  Jamiah recently graduated from university with a degree in horticulture management and entrepreneurship.  He is also a farmer.

Matooke is not just a staple food in Uganda, but one of the recognized national dishes.  The Batooro peoples of Uganda inhabit the Kabarole and Kasese districts where Fort Portal is located.  Traditionally, the Batooro economy was based on agricultural and pastoral activities.  One of the main crops produced is the matooke – a green banana or plantain – which is usually boiled or mashed and then steamed and served on a banana leaf.  Alongside millet, sorghum and peas, it is an important part of the local economy and everyday diet.

How important is matooke to the average Ugandan?  Per capita, Ugandans consume 172 kg per year.  That’s 18% of their caloric intake – making them the largest consumers AND producers in the world.  And with the market for matooke being mostly local, the carbon footprint (or bicycle print as it were) is an environmentalist’s dream.  No need for a buy local campaign.

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