For generations, Ashok Gade’s family has been cultivating bananas. As bananas are a perishable commodity, its farming became a low-profitable business for him.

“If the produce starts ripening, we are forced to sell at throwaway prices. Often we watch our hard-grown produce rot in the field,” he says.

Instead of selling the fruit directly in the unstable market, Ashok and his wife Kusum came up with an idea to increase the shelf life of bananas by processing them into value-added products.

The couple manufactures banana products such as banana chips, jam, candies, papad, chivda (flattened and crispy banana), and laddoo.

They have also innovated biscuits out of bananas – a healthy replacement for biscuits made of maida (refined wheat flour) that have flooded the market.

“We continued to experiment with bananas. Eventually during the processing, we innovated biscuits out of bananas. We used banana, ghee, and sugar to make these biscuits,” adds Ashok.

For the last three years, the couple has been manufacturing and selling these banana biscuits locally. Priced at Rs 400–500/kg, these biscuits have fetched them up to four times profits.

Today, they sell between 60 and 100 kg of banana biscuits in a week and earn an annual revenue of Rs 25 lakh.

Their banana biscuits have found buyers not only in Maharashtra but also in West Bengal, Odisha, Karnataka, and Delhi.

Last April, the Central Government granted them a patent for their banana biscuits. “This patent will also allow us to expand our market to other countries as well,” he says.