Uganda’s Traditional Tonto Drink Faces Threat Amidst Regulatory Push


The traditional Ugandan banana-based drink tonto, cherished for its fruity aroma, faces challenges as authorities move to regulate and curb home brewing activities.

The Legacy of Tonto

Tonto, a traditional Ugandan drink made from bananas, holds a revered status in the country’s culture. Its production involves a meticulous process of fermenting sweet banana juice with sorghum, resulting in a fruity beverage with historical and cultural significance.

Threats to Tonto Production

The emergence of cheap bottled beer poses a threat to the popularity of tonto, prompting a decline in both demand and supply. Furthermore, authorities seek to regulate and restrict home brewing activities due to health concerns and the lack of revenue collection.

Challenges Faced by Farmers

Farmers are encountering challenges in cultivating new banana juice varieties, as the focus shifts towards commercially viable bananas used for matoke. This shift in priority raises concerns about the future availability of bananas for tonto production.

Struggles of Tonto Producers

Producers of tonto face various struggles, including increased production complexities, rising input costs, and stagnant retail prices. The effort and time required for tonto production have escalated, impacting the traditional brew’s economic viability.

Tonto’s Cultural Resilience

Despite the challenges, tonto remains integral to Ugandan culture, serving as a staple refreshment for individuals like Benson Muhereza and attracting loyal customers, reflecting its enduring popularity and cultural significance.