Low yield, fall in area under banana cultivation a cause for worry
Low yield and acreage dip in banana cultivation has become a cause for worry since it could end up with farmers migrating to other crops.
Against the average acreage of 3,000 hectares computed over a decade, the cultivation of banana has been only on an expanse of 1,350 hectares in the district during the just-ended 2016-17 financial year.
The average yield from the crop in the district stood at 30 to 35 tonnes per hectare, which, according to horticulture experts, was a bit low considering the availability of high yielding tissue culture banana varieties across the country.
The Horticulture Department officials attribute the low yield to lack of awareness about the long-term benefits of tissue culture bananas, and also the reluctance to adopt progressive irrigation and farming practices.
“The average yield could have been raised easily to around 50 to 60 tonnes per hectare if more farmers come forward to raise the tissue culture varieties.The cultivation of tissue culture would not only be increasing the yield but also enables farmers to have two ‘ratoons’ (new shoot comes from base plant) and ensure uniform harvest.
“But, only less than five per cent of the area under banana cultivation has tissue culture varieties”, pointed out Deputy Director of Horticulture K.S. Suganthi. In an attempt to give an impetus to banana cultivation, the Department of Horticulture, along with different stakeholders, are now organising awareness campaigns for educating the farmers on the need to switch over to tissue culture varieties and adoption of modern farming techniques. “The banana farmers have to go more for micro irrigation and nutrient management besides opting for production of value-added products from banana at farm level itself which will give them better unit value realisation”, said Ms. Suganthi.
Source: THE HINDU