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Banana cultivation to be mechanised

The National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB) in Tiruchi has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kongunadu College of Engineering and Technology (KNCET), a private engineering college located at the banana-growing belt of Thottiyam in the district, to take up research projects to promote mechanisation in banana cultivation.

With India being the largest producer of banana with a production of 30 million tonnes, the NRCB has been taking various initiatives to promote banana cultivation and trade covering the entire gamut of banana supply chain in India starting from farm level production to post-harvest value addition and export. However, India’s share in the world trade in banana is negligible. The signing of the MoU was part of the centre’s attempts to promote better cultivation practices in banana.

The agreement focuses on developing bio-sensors and imaging technology for pest detection, portable cable car conveyor system for the transportation of harvested bunches and to promote green technology through utilisation of solar power and other fields. The agreement also supports enlisting the students for internship and post graduate research programmes at NRCB.

According to scientists at NRCB, the college students with technical inputs from the centre have already developed a prototype of a conveyor system to transport harvested banana bunches in the field. However, it required certain improvements which would be taken up under the initiative. Similarly, research will be taken up on bringing about certain improvements in solar dryers besides developing implements for paring banana suckers and other cultivation processes.

S. Uma, Director, NRCB, and PSK R. Periyasamy, Chairman, KNCET, signed the agreement on Wednesday. “We hope that the outcome of research initiatives will enhance farmers’ income,” Dr.Uma said.

Speaking on the occasion, Ezhilan, Chief Executive Officer, Greeners Agro Products India Pvt Ltd., elaborated on the way forward in export of banana using mechanisation in handling with the development of cable car conveyor, scientific post-harvest methods and packaging.

Source:  http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/banana-cultivation-to-be-mechanised/article19851280.ece

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