A unique story of creating a ‘plantain bank’ at Vengeri

Babu Parambath in his plantain farm at Vengeri.  

At first glance, they all look the same until you read the name boards kept on the foot of every plantain shoot and Babu Parambath describes the speciality of each of them. Then you start noticing the minor details that make this plantain grove one of its kind.

Mr. Parambath, known for his several ventures in the waste management front as the project coordinator of Niravu waste management company, has collected 50 different varieties of plantains from not just India, but from other parts of the world too, over a period of one-and-a-half years since the first COVID-induced lockdown. He has one or two shoots of each of them planted in the 10 cents next to his home at Vengeri.

“This land belongs to my sister. I had planted a few available saplings in one corner to avoid sitting idle during the lockdown. But then I started getting different types of saplings from various quarters, and it became a crazy hobby. I just completed planting the 50th sapling,” he said pointing to the ‘Gaali’ sapling that he had sourced from Karnataka the other day. What began as a hobby is now a ‘plantain bank’ with several endangered species of saplings finding place here.

Babu Parambath in his plantain farm at Vengeri.

Babu Parambath in his plantain farm at Vengeri.  

There are around 23 varieties of plantains cultivated in Kerala, while there are a total of around 45 varieties in the country. There are around 1,500 varieties of plantains across the world, most of which are found in Taiwan and African countries.

Mr. Parambath has planted plantain varieties from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh besides exotic varieties from Taiwan, Israel and Sri Lanka. The collection includes ‘Tai Moosa’, the shortest variety that grows only up to three-feet height, which comes from Taiwan, and ‘Chingan’, one of the tallest varieties in the world available in Sri Lanka. Besides, there are ‘Namva’, ‘Botasna’ and ‘1000 figure’ from Taiwan, ‘Reino’, and ‘Big Ebaga’ from Africa and ‘William Robust’ from Israel. ‘1000 figure’ has the longest fruit that often touches the ground and is used for decorative purposes. The variety named ‘Praying Hand’ has its sections facing each other like a praying hand, rather than one above the other.

“I am planning to develop this as a ‘plantain bank’ and record the movement of each sapling that I sell. I have been contacted by NABARD and the Kerala Agricultural University, both of which have extended help to develop this venture as a model project and for educational purposes for students,” Mr. Parambath said.



Many of the saplings and banana bunches in this grove have already found takers, who have booked them in advance, especially since they are organically grown.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 2:58:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/a-unique-story-of-creating-a-plantain-bank-at-vengeri/article36541893.ece

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