IN RECENT YEARS, thanks to the application of fruits of research, the quantity and quality of the state’s
banana production have registered manifold increase. A recent seminar and exhibition on the potential to develop a Tamil Nadu Brand Banana was spearheaded by CII-FACE. There was enthusiastic participation by the Horticulture and Agri-Marketing Departments of the Tamil Nadu government, the TNAU, the National Research Centre for Banana and TN banana growers.
Banana cultivation has received a big boost over the last decade. Progressive farmers like A K Karuppaiah of Farm Fresh have succeeded in accessing the advances in tissue culture, micro irrigation, plant pathology, nutrition and protection and, importantly, in cold chain. These have helped in eliminating the wastages, estimated at over 35 per cent of production and helped in offering consistent high quality fruit at the consumer end.
Waste reduction and zooming profits…
Karuppaiah, known for the high quality banana Farm Fresh has been marketing, mentioned that he has been able to contain wastage to less than 2 per cent. Contrast this with the several studies that have been highlighting the fact that India loses a third of its produce of perishable goods due to poor post- arvest handling.
Tamil Nadu has been producing over thirty varieties of banana. The focus hitherto has been largely on the Robusta (Grand Naine) variety that has been backed by extensive research and provides high yields. Scientists from National Research Centre for Banana and TNAU mentioned that such attention is also given to several other varieties specific to Tamil Nadu like Poovan, Rasthali…
B Thyagarajan, Convener of the Agriculture and Food Processing Panel of CII-TN and Purushothaman Ravichandran, Chairman-CII Tamil Nadu Banana Festival 2012, who have been deeply involved in the cold chain movement, expressed confidence over the Tamil Nadu Brand Banana evolving and becoming popular within next five years.
Refrigerated banana train to Salem-Agra
Dr E Vadivel of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University referred to another essential component of taking Tamil Nadu banana to other parts of the country: a regular refrigerated train service from Salem to Agra is being planned. Vadivel said that the train can carry banana, mango, egg and other poultry products for the northern markets and bring back apples, dry fruits… In the first stage, Tamil Nadu banana growers can expand their markets to Northern India. The next stage is to make banana a significant export product. Presently, despite being a major producer, India’s share in global export is a mere 0.02 per cent. The festival attracted over a thousand farmers. Experts from different fields offered invaluable suggestions and advice. The experiences of successful farmers evoked understandable interest. CII deserves commendation for this excellent effort. One can look forward to this as a regular calendar event. – ( FOC )