Price of banana variety `nethran' has increased in the open market in view of the huge demand for it during Onam season coupled with a fall in its production.

The price in the open market is Rs 55 per kilogram where as the farmers get above Rs 50 through the Swayasraya Karsjhka Vipanies (SKVs) run by the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council, Keralam (VFPCK). Sources in the open market said that there is chance of a further increase in its prices as its demand will be higher compared to the availability.

Though `nethran' is now largely cultivated in Tamil Nadu, its arrival to the markets is less compared to the vegetable varieties arriving from there. Moreover its price is largely decided by the demand- supply factor in the internal markets in the State.

As per the VFPCK estimate, that there is a drop of 30 percent production in the `nethran' variety in the current season. VFPCK district manager Sajimon Joseph told The HIndu on Tuesday that three factors were responsible for the production loss. The monsoon havoc and substituent landslips destroyed cultivation in large areas which were aimed for the Onam season. Prior to the monsoon there was a drought situation that resulted in the production loss and the other factor was the water-logging in the areas and farmers harvesting it in advance prior to the Onam season.

Large areas were brought under cultivation of bananas especially `nethran' on the fallow land and paddy fields by neighbourhood groups of the Kudumbasree and farmers affiliated to the SKVs. Howerver, the natural calamity heavily destroyed it, said farmers.

The areas largely cultivated by `nethran' are in Vathikudy, Erattayar, Konnathady, Adimaly, Rjakkad and Rajakumari grama panchayats.

An official of the SKV at Thopramkudy said that an average of 15 tonnes of `nethran' daily arrive and the quantity will increase in the coming days. He said that compared to the last few Onam seasons, the farmers are getting a better price and it is unlikely to fall, in view of its demand.

The banana varieties from Idukki reach the main markets in Kottayam, Changanaserry and Thrissur.

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