Banana (Musa sp.) is the second most important fruit crop in India next to mango. Its year round availability, affordability, varietal range, taste, nutritive and medicinal value makes it the favourite fruit among all classes of people. It has also good export potential.

Hi-tech cultivation of the crop is an economically viable enterprise leading to increase in productivity, improvement in produce quality and early crop maturity with the produce commanding premium price.

  

            Origin

 

Banana evolved in the humid tropical regions of S.E.Asia with India as one of its centres of origin.  Modern edible varieties have evolved from the two species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana and their natural hybrids, originally found in the rain forests of S.E.Asia. During the seventh century AD its cultivation spread to Egypt and Africa. At present banana is being cultivated throughout the warm tropical regions of the world between 300 N and 300S of the equator.

 

           Area & Production

 

Banana and plantains are grown in about 120 countries. Total annual world production is estimated at 86 million tonnes of fruits. India leads the world in banana production with an annual output of about 14.2 million tonnes. Other leading producers are Brazil, Eucador, China, Phillipines, Indonesia, Costarica, Mexico, Thailand and Colombia.

 

In India banana ranks first in production and third in area among fruit crops.  It accounts for 13% of the total area and 33% of the production of fruits. Production is highest in Maharashtra (3924.1 thousand tones) followed by Tamil Nadu (3543.8 thousand tonnes). Within India, Maharashtra has the highest productivity of 65.70 metric tones /ha. against national average of 30.5 tonnes/ha. The other major banana producing states are Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Assam

 

          Economic Importance

 

Banana is a very popular fruit due to its low price and high nutritive value. It is consumed in fresh or cooked form both as ripe and raw fruit.

Banana is a rich source of carbohydrate and is rich in vitamins particularly vitamin B. It is also a good source of potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. The fruit is easy to digest, free from fat and cholesterol. Banana powder is used as the first baby food. It helps in reducing risk of heart diseases when used regularly and is recommended for patients suffering from high blood pressure, arthritis, ulcer, gastroenteritis and kidney disorders.

Processed products, such as chips, banana puree, jam, jelly, juice, wine and halwa can be made from the fruit. The tender stem, which bears the inflorescence is extracted by removing the leaf sheaths of the harvested pseudostem and used as vegetable. Plantains or cooking bananas are rich in starch and have a chemical composition similar to that of potato.

Banana fibre is used to make items like bags, pots and wall hangers. Rope and good quality paper can be prepared from banana waste. Banana leaves are used as healthy and hygienic eating plates.

 

          MARKET ANALYSIS AND STRATEGY

 

           Demand and Supply patterns

 

Only 0.05% of domestic production is exported and the rest is consumed within the country mostly as a table fruit. However, domestic marketing was largely in the unorganized sector till recently with itinerant trades mopping up the produce at farm level. The marketing chain from producer to customer was long involving four to five intermediaries. This marketing system denied the producer a fair price and also added to the marketing margins putting up the price paid by the consumers.

Maharashtra is the principal producing state. The Agriculture Marketing Board of the state has established ‘Mahabanana’, a farmers’ marketing organization in the year 2002 with headquarters at Jalgaon. There are 26 co-operative societies registered under Mahabanana and each such member society has 300-350 small and marginal farmers. About 8000 farmers have enrolled themselves as members under the organization.

The organization was formed to boost export as well as domestic marketing. It is also involved in supplying quality planting material and in providing guidance and training on various processes from planting to marketing. Pre-cooling units, cold storages and modern pack house facilities are being provided to the growers. It has started a local marketing /procurement centre and has also developed a market information centre.

Jalgaon district has shown the way for setting up a well organized banana industry. This has been achieved by adopting high density planting and single crop cultivation method. Besides meeting the demands for all the markets of Maharashtra state, on an average 12-15 thousand wagon loads are transported every year to the markets in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. Moreover, transportation by road to the markets of neighbouring states like Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan is also quite sizeable.

Agricultural Produce Market, Azadpur, New Delhi is a principal market complex. It is the largest market in Asia and ranks second in the world. An interesting feature of this market is that the Azadpur Railway Station has been declared as a subsidiary yard of principal market of Azadpur for unloading and further distribution of banana received mostly through railway wagons. Special trains carrying banana reach Delhi from Jalgaon district alone.

        Trends in World Trade

 

Although banana is the main fruit in international trade and the most popular one, ranking second after citrus in terms of value, main banana producing countries, such as India or Brazil, are hardly involved in it.

Bananas are imported mainly by the European Union, the United States of America and Japan, which together accounted for about 70% of world total imports in 2002, while the first ten banana importing countries represented more than 86% of total imports (considering the EU as a whole). Markets such as the Russian Federation, China or Easter European countries are emerging now as destinations for banana exports.

India exports bananas mainly to Middle East countries viz. U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar. The varieties which are in demand internationally include Grand Naine and Cavendish.

  PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY

 

           Agro-climatic requirements

 

Banana, basically a tropical crop, grows well in a temperature range of 15ºC – 35ºC with relative humidity of 75-85%. It prefers tropical humid lowlands and is grown from the sea level to an elevation of 2000m. above m.s.l.. In India this crop is being cultivated in climate ranging from humid tropical to dry mild subtropics through selection of appropriate varieties. Chilling injury occurs at temperature below 12ºC. High velocity of wind which exceeds 80 km /hr. damages the crop. Four months of monsoon (June to September) with an average 650-750 mm. rainfall are most important for vigorous vegetative growth of banana. At higher altitudes, banana cultivation is restricted to a few varieties like ‘Hill banana”.

Deep, rich loamy soil with pH between 6.5 – 7.5 is most preferred for banana cultivation. Soil for banana should have good drainage, adequate fertility and moisture. Saline solid, calcareous soils are not suitable for banana cultivation. A soil which is neither too acidic nor too alkaline, rich in organic material with high nitrogen content, adequate phosphorus level and plenty of potash is good for banana.

 

      Growing and Potential Belts

The state-wise growing belts are given in the following :

 

State

Growing belts

Andhra Pradesh

East Godavari, West Godavari, Kurnool, Cuddapah

Assam

Goalpara, Nagaon, Sonitpur, foothills of Garo hills

Gujarat

Surat, Vadodara, Anand, Kheda, Junagadh, Narmada, Bharuch

Jharkhand

Ranchi, Sahebganj

Karnataka

Bangalore, Chitradurga, Shioroga, Hassan, Chikka Mangloor

Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wynadu, Kannur, Kasargod

Madhya Pradesh

Khandwa, Badwani, Khargaon, Dhar

Maharashtra

Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Buldhana, Pune, Wardha, Dhule, Nanded, Parbani, Nandurbar, Satara, Sangli, Osmanabad, Buldhana, Akola, Yeothmal, Amravati, Thane, Kulara, Alibag

Orissa

Ganjam, Puri, Khurda, Gajpati, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Angul, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Deogarh, Koraput, Keonjhar, Raygada, Mayurbhanj

Tamil Nadu

Thoothukudi, Tiruchirapalli, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Karur, Erode, Kanniyakumari

West Bengal

Hooghly, Nadia, North 24 Parganas

 

         Varieties Cultivated

 

Commercially, bananas are classified as dessert types and culinary types. The culinary types have starchy fruits and are used in the mature unripe form as vegetables. Important cultivars include Dwarf Cavendish, Robusta, Monthan, Poovan, Nendran, Red banana, Nyali, Safed Velchi, Basrai, Ardhapuri, Rasthali, Karpurvalli, Karthali and Grand Naine etc.

Grand Naine, an imported variety from Israel is gaining popularity and may soon become the most preferred variety due to its tolerance to abiotic stresses and good quality bunches. Fruit develops attractive uniform yellow colour with better shelf life & quality than other cultivars.

Important banana varieties cultivated in different states of India are given below :

 

State

 

Varieties grown

Andhra Pradesh

-

Dwarf Cavendish, Robusta, Rasthali, Amritpant, Thellachakrakeli, Karpoora Poovan, Chakrakeli, Monthan and Yenagu Bontha

Assam

-

Jahaji (Dwarf Cavendish), Chini Champa, Malbhog, Borjahaji (Robusta), Honda, Manjahaji, Chinia (Manohar), Kanchkol, Bhimkol, Jatikol, Digjowa, Kulpait, Bharat Moni

Bihar

-

Dwarf Cavendish, Alpon, Chinia , Chini Champa, Malbhig, Muthia, Kothia , Gauria

Gujarat

-

Dwarf Cavendish, Lacatan, Harichal (Lokhandi), Gandevi Selection, Basrai, Robusta, G-9, Harichal, Shrimati

Jharkhand

-

Basrai, Singapuri

Karnataka

-

Dwarf Cavendish, Robusta, Rasthali, Poovan, Monthan, Elakkibale

Kerala

-

Nendran (Plantain), Palayankodan (Poovan), Rasthali, Monthan, Red Banana, Robusta

Madhya Pradesh

-

Basrai

Maharashtra

-

Dwarf Cavendish, Basrai, Robusta, Lal Velchi, Safed Velchi, Rajeli Nendran, Grand Naine, Shreemanti, Red Banana

Orissa

-

Dwarf Cavendish, Robusta, Champa, Patkapura (Rasthali)

Tamil Nadu

-

Virupakshi, Robusta, Rad Banana, Poovan, Rasthali, Nendran, Monthan, Karpuravalli, Sakkai, Peyan, Matti

West Bengal

-

Champa, Mortman , Dwarf Cavendish, Giant Governor, Kanthali, Singapuri


Soil Preparation

Plough the land thoroughly atleast for 3-4 times and add about 10 tonnes of well rotten FYM or Compost during last plough and mix it well or add 10-15 kg FYM/ Compost per pit of 60x60x60 cm dimension.

Selection of Suckers

  • Select ‘Sword Suckers’ with broad corm with narrow sword like leaves, from viral, fungal and bacterial disease free mother plants.

  • The suckers should be 3-5 months old, uniform in size, weighing 1-1.5 kg for Nendran, Rasthali, Ney Poovan and Poovan Banana varieties.

  • For long duration varieties like Karpuravalli and Red Banana, slightly big suckers weighing 1.5-2.0 kg should be used.

  • For planting of ‘Tissue Culture’ plants, the secondary hardened plant should be about 30 cm tall, 5 cm girth with atleast five fully opened healthy leaves and true to type.


Planting and Treatment of Suckers



  • The selected suckers should be ‘pared’ by trimming of all the roots along with surface layers superficially to remove any rotten portion of the corm.

  • Dip the pared suckers in 0.2% Carbendazim (2g/litre of water) solution for about 15 –20 minutes as a prophylactic measure against Fusarium wilt disease.

  • Keep the treated suckers in shade overnight before planting. Plant the suckers in the center of the pit and press the soil around the suckers firmly.

  • Apply 40 g of Carbofuron granules per pit to protect the plants against nematode attack and irrigate the field thoroughly.

  • In case of tissue culture plants, one week before planting apply 10 g Carbofuron and 1.0 % bleaching powder or 0.2 % Emissan in 100 ml water as drench into the polythene bags to protect against nematode infestation and bacterial rot (Erwinia Rot) disease respectively.

CALENDAR OF OPERATIONS

First Month

  • The soil around the plants should be pressed firmly for better and quick establishment of the plants.

  • Wherever necessary, ‘Gap Filling’ should be done to replace the un- sprouted as well as rotten suckers. Seeds of green manure crops viz., cowpea or sunnhemp be sown.

  • For additional income and also for effective land use efficiency, short duration crops such as onion, green gram, black gram, beans, radish, greens, marigold and short duration vegetables can be grown as intercrop.

  • Tomato, chilly and cucurbits should not be grown as intercrop since these crops harbour nematodes and aphids, which act as vector of virus spread.

Second Month

  • Green manures viz., cowpea or sunnhemp should be ploughed back in to the soil at flowering stage or about 40 days after sowing.

  • Slight digging and earthing up to keep the weeds under control.

  • For Fusarium wilt susceptible varieties like Rasthali, Karpuravalli, Ney Poovan, Monthan and Pachanadan, drench the soil around the plant with 0.2% Carbendazim as a prophylactic measure, or

  • Apply 30g Trichoderma viride or Pseudomonas flourescense along with FYM/compost 1 kg in the soil around the plant as a prophylactic measure for the control of wilt disease.

Third Month

  • Application of 40g of Carbofuron to control nematodes.

  • Digging and weeding.

  • Application of first dose of fertilizers @ 100:300:100 g Urea, Super Phosphate and MOP per plant in basins made about 30 cm away from the plant.

Fourth Month

  • Application of Azospirillum and phosphobacteria @ 30 g and Trichoderma viride @ 30g along with 5-10 kg FYM plant-1.

  • There should a gap of minimum 2-3 weeks between the application of chemical fertilizers and biofertilizers.

  • Periodical removal of side suckers by cutting them above the ground level and pouring 2 ml kerosene at the central core of the sucker.

  • If any virus affected plants are noticed in the field, remove and destroy it immediately and spray with any systemic insecticide to kill the insect vectors which spread the virus.

Fifth Month

  • Application of second dose of fertilizers @ 150:150 g Urea and MOP+ 300g neemcake per plant in the basins made about 45 cm away from the plant.

  • Removal of dried leaves.

  • Digging and weeding.

  • To cater the micronutrient need of the plant and to correct their deficiency, apply 50g agricultural lime and 25g magnesium sulphate per plant.

  • For Fusarium wilt susceptible varieties like Rasthali, Karpuravalli, Ney Poovan, Monthan and Pachanadan drench the soil around the plant with 0.2% Carbendazim as a prophylactic measure.

  • To prevent the egg laying and further attack of stem weevil, spray ‘Neemosol’ @12.5ml/litre or Chlorpyriphos @ 2.5ml/litre on the stem especially in Nendran, Red Banana, Karpuravalli and Monthan varieties.

  • To monitor the corm and stem weevil, 2 ft long longitudinal stem trap @40 traps/acre can be placed at different places. The collected weevils are to be killed using kerosene.

  • Keep the Banana fields as well as surrounding areas weed free and spray systemic insecticides to control the insect vectors.

Sixth Month

  • Digging and earthing up of soil around the plant.

  • Removal of the dried and diseased leaves and spraying of 0.1% Propiconazol (TILT) by thoroughly covering both the surfaces adding wetting agent with the spray fluid especially during winter and cool months for control of Sigatoka leaf spot diseases.

  • Yellowing of leaves which is a symptom of iron deficiency, spray 0.5% ferrous sulphate + 1.0% urea added with wetting agent on the leaves especially in high pH >8.5 and Calcareous soils.

  • To correct the deficiency of zinc, spray 0.5% zinc sulphate solution along with wetting agent.

  • Foliar application of 0.5 Borax is recommended to correct the deficiency.

  • Apply 30g Trichoderma viride or Pseudomonas flourescense in the soil around the plant as a prophylactic measure to control the wilt disease.

  • For controlling the stem weevil attack, using ‘Banana Injector’, inject 2ml of Monocrotophos (150 ml Monocrotophos mixed in 350 ml of water) at 2 and 4 feet height on opposite direction.

Seventh Month

  • Application of third dose of fertilizers @ 150:150 g Urea and MOP per plant in the basins made about 60 cm away from the plant.

  • Removal of the dried and diseased leaves and spraying of 0.1% Carbendazim or Calixin by thoroughly covering both the surfaces along with wetting agent.

  • Periodical removal of side suckers by cutting them above the ground level, scoop the core and pour 2 ml kerosene in the core.

  • Injection of 2ml of Monocrotophos using ‘Banana Injector’ at 2 and 4 feet height for the control of stem weevil.

Eighth Month

  • After flowering, only one healthy side sucker should be allowed for first ratoon and the remaining suckers should be killed using kerosene or uprooted.

  • Spraying of 0.1% Indofil by thoroughly covering both the surfaces.

  • After the emergence of the last hand, the male bud has to be removed leaving about 15 cm stalk from the last hand.

  • To prevent ‘cigar end rot’ disease, remove the pistil and perianth carefully from the fully emerged fingers and spray the bunch with Indofil M-45 @ 2.5 ml/litre.

  • Spray 2% Potassium Sulphate (20g/litre of water) solution with surfactant by thoroughly drenching the bunch and cover the bunch with 100 gauge thick white or blue polythene sleeves having 6% ventilation.

Ninth Month

  • Thirty days after the first spray, give a second spray of 2% Potassium Sulphate (20g/litre of water) solution with surfactant by thoroughly drenching the bunch.

  • Provide casuarina pole or bamboo support to the plants for tall and heavy bearing bunches.

Plant Population in different Planting Methods

S.No

Method of Planting

Spacing (m)

Plant Population/ ha

1

CONVENTIONAL PLANTING

 

 

i)

Dwarf Cavendish

1.5x1.5

4440

ii)

Robusta and Nendran

1.8x1.8

3080

iii)

Rasthali, Poovan, Karpuravalli, Monthan

2.1x2.1

2260

2

HIGH DENSITY PLANTING

 

 

a)

Paired row planting system i) Dwarf Cavendish ii) Robusta, Grand Naine, Poovan, Rasthali and Ney Poovan

1.2x1.2x2.0 1.5x1.5x2.0

5200 3800

b)

3 suckers/hill (Robusta, Nendran)

1.8x3.6

4500


Drip Water requirement at different growth stages of Banana

Sl.

Crop growth stage

Duration (weeks)

Quantity of Water(Litre per Plant)

1.

After planting / Ratoon

1-4

Flood irrigation

2.

Juvenile phase

5-9

8-10

3.

Critical growth stage

10-19

12

4.

Flower bud differentiation stage

20-32

16-20

5.

Shooting stage

33-37

20 and above

6.

Bunch development stage

38-50

20 and above



Weekly Fertigation scedule of Banana( gm/plant/application )

Weeks after Planting

Urea

Total (g/plant)

MOP

Total (g/plant)

9 to 18 week (10 weeks)

15

150

8

80

19 to 30 week (12 weeks)

10

120

10

120

31 to 40 week (10 weeks)

7

70

12

120

41 to 46 week (5 weeks)

Nil

Nil

10

50

Total

----

340

----

375

Source: NHB and NRCB

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