Harvest of “nendran” banana has begun in different parts of the district.
Nendran, which is marketed mainly in Kerala, has been raised on about 3,000 hectares in the district in the current season (2020-21), up by 500 hectares over the previous season.
Availability of sufficient water sources had motivated the farmers to bring more area under nendran cultivation during the current season. The crop has been raised predominantly in Andhanallur, Manikandam, Thiruvalarcholai, Panayapuram, Uthamarseeli, Sirugamani, Perugamani, Mutharasanallur, Thottiyam and Musiri.
The crop takes 10 months for reaching maturity. The crop raised in April last year, has reached the harvest stage and fruits are being harvested simultaneously in different parts of the district.
According to sources, the yield is slightly less than normal. The yield hovers around 12-13 tonnes an acre in normal circumstances. But many farmers have reported a yield of around 10 tonnes an acre. The unseasonal rainfall during the extended monsoon is said to have played spoilsport, denting the growth of bunches.
“The conditions were perfect until October. The extended spells of rain for many days during the monsoon season ultimately affected the health of the cop. The yield has been at least two tonnes less per acre than normal,” said S. Senthikumar, a farmer, who has raised nendran on five acres of land at Panayapuram near Thiruvalarcholai.
According to farmers, it requires ₹1.5 lakh to raise nendran crop on an acre. Of this, ₹50,000 is spent on paying lease fee and irrigation charges. The current yield is insufficient to meet the expenditure on raising the crop.
Most farmers prefer to send their produce to markets in Kerala. More than 200 traders and middlemen from Malappuram, Kozhikodu, Thiruvananthapuram, Alleppey, Kochin and Kottayam have come to the banana fields to procure nendran variety. The harvest is expected to pick up momentum in the second and third week of March.