Banana farmers adopt new tech to up yields

  • Move has increased productivity and reduced production costs
- BHAWANI BHATTA, KANCHANPUR

Jun 27, 2018-Banana farmers of Kanchanpur district have started adopting new technology which has reduced production costs while increasing productivity.

The latest technological introduction has been the use of tissue cultured sapling. Karma Singh Rana, a banana farmer of the district who established a nursery last year said that a total of 150,000 banana saplings were produced in the district by different nurseries adopting tissue culture technology.

Rana claims the introduction of the technology has reduced the cost of the sapling while it has also increased productivity.   

Similarly, the Banana Production and Promotion Agricultural Cooperative in the district produced 100,000 banana saplings last year. Around half a dozen nurseries in the district are producing 10,000 to 100,000 banana saplings annually. Easy availability of the improved variety of the sapling has encouraged many locals of the region to undertake commercial banana farming. Earlier, the farmers were relying on saplings imported from India and they had to travel as far as Haryana, the north Indian state to import saplings.

The so-called tissue culture approach to banana breeding has been successful in most countries, including India. The main advantage with tissue-cultured banana plants, apart from being based on disease-free and genetically pure material, is that individual plants are of uniform age, according to experts.

It also enables farmers to have two ratoons—the new shoots that spring from the plant, and ensure uniform harvest.

The average yield can be raised to around 50 tonnes per hectare if tissue culture varieties are adopted. The country’s average banana production currently stands at 17 tonnes per hectare. The tissue culture varieties are also expected to prevent the frequent disease problems that normally affect banana farms.

Apart from switching to modern technology while producing the saplings, farmers of the region have adopted various new techniques while farming. Purna Singh Saud, a local of Bimdutta Municipality who is involved in banana farming for the last two decades has started using drop irrigation system in his farm. Saud has invested Rs2 million and leased 5 biggas of land for banana farming. “The drop irrigation system reduces labour and irrigation costs as it increases the productivity,” said Saud. “Although the installation cost of system is higher than other irrigation systems, the operation cost is very low.”

The plant will grow uniformly when drop irrigation system is used as water and other nutritional content is distributed equally to the entire plants, according to Saud.

Published: 27-06-2018 09:04

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