Print Edition - 2014-11-14 | MONEY
Bananas bring happiness to Chitwan farmers
Nov 13, 2014-
Two decades ago, Ambika Prasad Adhikari, a local of Ratnanagar-13, started growing bananas on his 14 bighas of land with a Rs 700,000 loan. When he started, there was no demand for this fruit. But he kept at it with the hope that business would improve one day. His perseverance has paid off. He gets Rs 75 for a dozen bananas in the market nowadays.
Five years after Adhikari went into commercial banana farming, other farmers began followed his lead. Demand for the fruit started picking up from 2003. Presently, banana farming has spread to 1,600 bighas in the district, and growers have been thinking of enlarging their farms due to increasing demand for their products.
“My decision to plant bananas has started paying off. The attraction for growing bananas has increased in the district now,” Adhikari said. More than 400 farmers in the district are involved in banana farming now. In the last few years, this farm has been attracting youths.
Bibek Dahal of Padampur-4, who had planned to go abroad for employment five years ago, suddenly abandoned his plan after he saw a bright future in commercial banana farming.
“Initially, when I was unemployed, I decided to go abroad. But I immediately changed my mind when I saw some of my friends making a handsome income from banana farming,” he said. He is growing bananas on 5 bighas.
Tulasi Prasad Bhatta, another farmer in Ratnanagar Municipality, returned from his job in Malaysia after two years. “I was in a dilemma when I returned home. But when I saw that banana farming was providing a good income, I also decided to do the same.” He has planted bananas on 6 bighas and earns Rs 100,000 per kattha excluding operating costs. “I am happy with the income now.” He plans to expand his farm too. These are a few examples. A number of young people who had planned to migrate abroad have been attracted to banana farming. Yagya Prasad Subedi, president of the Banana Farm Promotion Development Centre in Chitwan, said that handsome returns from banana farming have been attracting more and more youths in the district. “Every year, the number of banana farmers is growing and so is the area under cultivation.”
However, pest infestation has been a common concern for the banana growers. Last year, the district sold bananas worth Rs 350 million and plans to produce fruits worth Rs 500 million this year.
Bananas are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world. The possible health benefits of consuming bananas include lowering the risks of cancer and asthma, lowering blood pressure, improving heart health and promoting regularity.
Published: 14-11-2014 09:22