Timaya’s Plantain Business Still Thriving In Bayelsa
When Timaya was in plantain business in Bayelsa State, barely did he know he would become a famous Nigerian that will break into the music industry from the small coastal state in southern Nigeria.
Years down the line, this plantain business, which he has bragged with in most of his songs is still thriving in the state.
Plantain is a staple food in South-South Nigeria Region.
It is green in colour and yellow when ripe. This sucker plant grows in abundance in Bayelsa State due to their muddy riverine terrain.
Plantain business is a money spinner for people, but it is not a sight of the plant that puts money in anyone’s pocket, but the science that one could perform with it to make a hungry man satisfied, yet desiring more.
Roasted plantain known as Kekefiai in Bayelsa, is an energy giving food especially, when ripe. It is usually being roasted together with yam and served with roasted ice fish and a source that sends the combination down to the abyss of the consumer's stomach.
A sight of it makes one want to have a taste of it.
It is very unusual for one to see a street without Kekefiai sellers in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The plantain, either ripe or unripe, can be roasted and eaten with spiced tomato sauce, grounded fresh pepper, fresh sliced onions and utazi leave.
Bounce News paid a visit to a busy spot operated by Mama Ebi, at the entrance of the Sports Complex in Ovom.
By 12:17 p.m., customers began to arrive. One after another, they placed their orders.
Seven out of nine customers requested for unripe plantain with fish and drinking water.
Health Benefits Of Unripe Plantain
While he awaited his order, Dr. Michael Tiemo, a gynaecologist at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Yenagoa, told Bounce News that plantain could combat aging, depression, cancer and numerous chronic diseases.
"I eat unripe plantain because it contains potassium, Manganese and other minerals which makes it easy for treatment of ulcer.
"It helps in weight loss, reduces menstrual pain, lowers the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women and protects from stroke.
At that moment, his food, which consisted of roasted unripe plantain, fish and tomato sauce with a bottle of drinking water, was served.
Smiling, he said: "As a medical doctor, 'if l no eat plantain wetin l gain'? After his question, he began devouring the content of the plat in front of him.
Another customer, a Safety officer, Abadiofoni Bueseme, said plantain was his best food.
"I eat plantain a lot because of the potassium, fibre, protein and vitamins it contains.
My day can't be complete if l don't eat plantain whether roasted, fried or boiled,” he said.
Wiping her face with a handkerchief, Mama Ebi said her business has continued to grow.
"I started roasting plantain, yam and fish several years ago and have trained two children in the University through this business.
"It is easy to start but difficult without determination.”
She revealed how she had to eat some left over with her family which reduced her capital.
"It was tough when l started but gradually, customers started coming.
"I see myself as a health personnel because l prepare delicious and nutritious food and serve in a clean, conducive environment.
"Instead of tying wrapper and dancing from one party or burial to another, l encourage my fellow women to venture into this business and help themselves," she concluded.
At the Hospital junction, opposite Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre in Ovom, Mrs Amiebi Joyce, who was busy arranging roasted plantain on her stand, said there was low patronage which she attributed to economic instability.
"I used to have so many customers who would park their cars along the road to come and eat here.
"But recently, it is difficult to sell like before.”
She said most of her customers complained of non-payment of salary and high cost of living as reasons why they can no longer patronise her.
"Those who come, don't buy like before.
"I have hope that things will pick up soon," she reassured.
Prices of roasted plantain vary according to size. While the smallest size could be sold for 100 Naira, a bigger one costs 150 -200 Naira per.
A plate of roasted plantain with roasted fish is sold between 300 Naira to 500 Naira.
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