Commodity Tips, Banana Fest: Focus on genetic engineering, molecular breeding
Genetic engineering, molecular breeding, and organic farming hogged the discussions during the five-day National Banana Festival, the first ever of its kind to be held, that drew to a close in rural Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.
Banana farming assumes much importance in the Indian scenario since the country ranks first in global banana production and accounts for 25.58 percent of global production. It also makes for 36.6 percent of the total fruit production in the country.
Provider of jobs
Banana and plantain are widely grown in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, Bihar, east Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and the North-Eastern States.
The banana industry provides employment to thousands of people. It is also a fact that only one percent of the banana produced is exported. Also organic banana, it has been revealed, is an emerging sector in global trade.
Special agri zones
The 32 Special Agricultural Zones declared by the Kerala government would help increase the productivity of different crops native to those regions. The entire Thrissur district has been declared a Special Agricultural Zone for a banana.
The Centre’s Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIHD) scheme has benefited banana farmers. The Union Minister said the Centre is committed to providing the required assistance to farmers for all horticulture crops.
“The Musa wild species and its allied species form an important source of resistant genes for biotic and abiotic stresses. Biotic and abiotic stresses are the main constraints that reduce productivity considerably.
“Production constraints also vary from region to region. The complexity of problems calls for basic, strategic, and adaptive research to maximize the productivity of banana crops.”