Precision farming techniques, effective irrigation methods yield high quality fruits with better shelf life

Progressive banana growers in Gudalur and nearby areas not only get bumper harvest this season but also get to tap global market, particularly countries in the Middle East. They harvest high quality fruits with better shelf life, thanks to advanced technologies, precision farming techniques, use of organic manure and effective irrigation methods.

“We do not directly export banana to foreign countries. We export through exporters. The high quality of the fruits, their uniform size, colour and long shelf life help us gain access to international market,” says R.Madhan Kumar, a banana grower from Lower Gudalur.

The weight of one bunch of bananas is around 45 to 56 kg. Some farmers have produced bunches weighing up to 62 kg. Many farmers in Gudalur have shifted to banana cultivation from grape, which is a labour-intensive one. Moreover, acute care is also necessary to protect the plants till harvest. Labour shortage has pushed most to shift to banana cultivation.

After 75 per cent of ripening, bananas are transported to harbours in refrigerated containers and shipped to countries in the Middle East in 12 days’ time. Later, the fruits can be kept alive for two months, say farmers.

The banana growers have also been selling raw bananas to agents who ripen them and market them in Karnataka, Kerala, Delhi and Chennai.

Now, some banana growers have started engaging themselves in direct marketing. They undertake ripening process on their own. The existing private ripening chambers in Chinnamnur are dominated by traders only.

To help banana growers, the Agri-produces Marketing Committtee has set up a ripening chamber with a processing capacity of five tonnes a day in Chinnamanur.