SME Solutions Centre – Banana Feeds Australia Equine Scoping Study
Waste at primary production level is a significant issue for Australian banana farmers with approximately 37,000 tonnes of bananas discarded on-farm per annum, equating to roughly $26.9 million of product. This challenging waste burden occurs as a result of changing consumer preferences and market specifications.
The ability to protect the viability of Australian banana growers is critical in these times of limited water availability, changing climatic conditions, and the ever-present threat of disease or pest incursions. Finding additional market opportunities for those bananas that do not find their way off-farm will assist in improving the economic returns for growers. One such market exists with the equine industry, utilising banana waste product for nutritional benefits.
In the equine industry, approximately 60-100% of strenuously exercising horses are affected by equine gastric ulceration syndrome. Exercise-induced oxidative stress is also present in athletic horses. For both of these conditions, antioxidant supplementation will help restore the oxidant/antioxidant balance. These supplements come at a high cost to the equine industry.
Our SME plan
Banana Feeds Australia Pty Ltd has identified the opportunity to use waste bananas as a nutraceutical product to benefit equine health. Currently, there is limited research on using green bananas with skin on in an equine diet. More understanding is required of the nutritional information to demonstrate the benefits of using this in a horses diet to prevent equine gastric ulcer syndrome. Due to its strong antioxidant capacity, this project anticipates that the banana product will have a range of additional health benefits.
The project will lead to a reduction in on-farm banana waste as well as higher utilisation of product grown in some of Australia’s most productive growing regions. Developing alternate end-users for banana waste will increase returns for growers. The natural benefits of the product could also lift the profile of the whole banana industry.
This project aims to develop a nutraceutical profile of the dried banana crumble and identify potential equine health applications. This will be achieved by:
- understanding the biologically active compounds in dried banana crumble.
- determining the effects of dried banana to prevent equine gastric ulcer syndrome and as an antioxidant supplement.
Banana Feeds Australia Pty Ltd has established a facility to repurpose food waste (in particular bananas). The next step is to validate product nutrients, and then to capture end-users to ensure that the facility can become a commercial hub for upcycled out of specification product.
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As this project progresses, we’ll share the good news on this page by adding information, links, images, interviews and more.