Chennai

Traditional banana varieties to get a boost

The National Agro Foundation (NAF) and the Tamilnadu Banana Producers Company Limited (TBCL), along with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, signed an agreement on Friday to utilise the lab facilities and expertise of the NAF for producing several tissue culture varieties of native bananas such as poovan and rasthali.

Many of these varieties are not freely available and their market potential is huge across the country and abroad.

The TBCL has ambitious plans to arrange and distribute quality tissue culture seedlings of these varieties grown in various parts of Tamil Nadu

At the programme held at the Centre for Rural Development at Illedu village in Kancheepuram district, Managing Trustee of NAF S.S. Rajsekar, in the welcome address, outlined the NAF’s history and how in the last 13 years it has touched the lives of nearly 25,000 farmers.

Storehouse facilities

Chairman of TBPCL A.P. Karuppiah said, “We will facilitate growers to form societies and set up storehouse facilities in production centres to evolve a business model to standardise the marketing that will reduce the post-harvest losses of fruits and improve the farm revenue. The company will also market the value-added products from banana from its member groups.”

Director-General of the National Institute of Rural Development and Chief Executive of the National Fisheries Development Board in Hyderabad M.V. Rao, who was the chief guest, said the big gap between knowledge and practice in agriculture should be closed.

‘Lean farming’

A project titled, “Lean farming”, which combines organic, bio and inorganic inputs without compromising on the yield potentialities of high yielding varieties, as well as environmental safety and ecological sustainability, was also inaugurated on the occasion.

Vice Chancellor of TNAU Dr. K Ramasamy said the project would be jointly implemented in about 40 villages in Villipuram district jointly by the TNAU and the NAF. Its objective is to increase crop productivity, reduce the use of agrochemicals and increase the profit per unit. A series of training programmes were planned in the district to popularise this concept.

Dr. K. Sreenath Dikshit, Zonal Project Director, ICAR, Bangalore, said, “Though agriculture is considered the backbone of the Indian economy and is a business model, it does not seem to draw a lot of people into it. This is one business, which is going to be there till mankind exists.”

TBCL Managing Director G. Ajeethan said there was need for the cultivators to rejuvenate the traditional banana varieties. Around 500 farmers from several regions in the area attended the programme held in commemoration of the 105 birth anniversary of NAF founder C. Subramanian.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 8:26:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/traditional-banana-varieties-to-get-a-boost/article6841101.ece

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