Farmers gained first-hand information on banana fruit care including better production technologies coupled with post-harvest handling, storage, and value chain management at the 20th foundation day celebrations of National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB) at Thayanur near Tiruchi on Wednesday. The occasion was celebrated as ‘Banana Kissan Mela’ with the theme ‘banana fruit care’.

Awards for the best banana grower, the best banana entrepreneur, and the best technology disseminator were given to recipients. S. T. Palanichamy from Cumbum, K. Maruthaipillai from Thottiyam, K. V. Senthil kumar from Kulithalai, K. Murali from Gudalur, and A. Sundararaj from Mohanur received the best banana grower award. A. Sivakumar, received the best banana entrepreneur award, and B. Saravanan bagged the best technology disseminator award.

M. M. Mustaffa, Director, NRCB, spoke about the achievements of the centre in the last two decades. “NRCB has developed a new technology for mass propagation of hill banana (virupakshi). It is a mass multiplication technique called embryonic cell suspensions (ECS) in which a large number of plants could be produced in a short time. This technology has prevented the extinction of hill banana because of banana bunchy top virus disease,” he said.

He appealed the farmers to form federations and work together towards reducing wastage and focus on fruit care.

“Farmers need to ensure that their produce is healthy and nutrition-packed, rather than harmful to health due to overuse of chemicals. Educated youth should take up farming so that they could use their knowledge to produce better crops,” said P. Velmurugan, Principal District and Sessions judge, Tiruchi.

An exhibition was organised to display various technologies for banana fruit care, production, quality tissue culture plants, value-added product development, inputs for banana cultivation, and management of pest and diseases.

Scientists delivered talks on banana fruit care including practices for better shelf life of the fruit, marketability, and profitability. Banana growers, agricultural and horticultural officers participated.