This passionate farmer grows 170 varieties of plantain

He pays attention to conservation and production of fruits

December 02, 2021 11:42 pm | Updated 11:43 pm IST - KALPETTA

M. K. Nishant, a farmer at Peruvaka near Mananthavady in Wayanad district in his plantain farm.

M. K. Nishant, a farmer at Peruvaka near Mananthavady in Wayanad district in his plantain farm.

The 3.45 acres owned by M.K. Nishant, a farmer at Peruvaka near Mananthavady in Wayanad district, is literally a treasure trove of bananas, as he has been nurturing as many as 178 cultivars of plantains collected from across the country.

Plantain varieties such as ‘Kadhali’, ‘Chenkadhali’, ‘Matti’, and cultivars of the commonly cultivated varieties of ‘Nendran’ such as ‘Chengalikodan’, ‘Swarnamukhi’, and ‘Nedunendran’ are luxuriously growing in his farm.

A rare variety called ‘Mancharikullan’, which flowers in the sixth month, is also kept in his collection along with medicinal bananas such as ‘Adukkan’, ‘Kunnan’, and ‘Karinkadhali’. ‘Peyan’, a variety with an exclusive use for curry purpose, is also being conserved in the garden.

Interestingly, Mr. Nishant uses social media for collecting the banana germplasm and to be in touch with banana farmers across the country.

Since the farmer is an active member of banana lovers group like ‘Vazhagramam’, most farmers give him new saplings.

Most of his collections are from his friends who live in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts. He gets rare varieties such as ‘Engambi’, ‘Buluvazha’, and ‘Peyan’ from friends on social media.

“I love plantain owing to its fast growth, high yield, exquisite taste, and aroma. My father has conserved 53 varieties on our farm, and that inspired me to collect more,” Mr. Nishant said.

“As many farmers approach me for the medicinal verities, I am planning to cultivate more such varieties to cater to their needs,” he added.

A balanced approach is being followed in his garden, as attention is paid to both conservation and commercial production of fruits.

Experimental trials have to be started with the most suitable varieties of banana since the farmer provides sufficient quantities of saplings, said Joseph John, scientist at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation here. Modern techniques such as tissue culture and other vegetative propagation methods should be used in getting more suckers from the rarest of banana varieties conserved in his garden, he said.

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