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A helping hand to banana growers

Image result for Gaja banana tree

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB) in Tiruchi is in touch with the State government and departments of Agriculture and Horticulture in districts that were severely affected by the cyclone Gaja so as to extend technical support and intervention.

“The NRCB has volunteered to join hands with the district authorities in crop loss assessment and initiating suitable measures for quick re-establishment of banana plantations,” S.Uma, Director, NRCB, said.

All NRCB scientists are on field visits in the cyclone affected areas suggesting remedial measures to farmers. They are in touch with NGOs, farmers’ federations and SHGs to assess and recommend suitable remedial measures depending on the nature and extent of damages.

The NRCB was planning to collect healthy planting materials, including tissue culture plants, from all over the State, for distribution to the affected farmers. A team of scientists have been assigned the task of collecting information on the loss of rare landraces so that the same could be rejuvenated from the germplasm stock being maintained at the centre, she said.

Dr.Uma observed that significant damage has been caused to the crop of banana, estimated to be to the extent of 8000 hectares including the mono crop of banana as well as banana inter-cropped in coconut and other perennial crop orchards in Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Tiruchi, Karur, Dindigul, Sivaganga and parts of Theni.

The total crop loss which was waiting for harvest during the ensuing festival season of ‘Pongal’ is estimated to be over Rs. 500 crore as the plants were either totally uprooted or broken in the middle and blown away by the high velocity wind. It is unfortunate traditional banana varieties and rare landraces have been damaged.


Pointing out that farmers were worried over having to incur substantial expenditure to remove the fallen banana plants from the fields, Dr. Uma suggested farmers to go for in situ composting. The farmers need not put much effort in removing them. Instead, the stem and leaves can be cut into pieces and put in between rows, applied with some urea and covered with soil so that it decomposes quickly to add more nutrients and improve soil fertility.

For advice and clarification, farmers can contact the NRCB by dialing 0431-2618125 or its scientists V. Kumar (9842635630) or K.J. Jeyabaskaran (9344353587).


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