Kadapa or YSR district as it is known today has been seen a phenomenal growth in banana cultivation in recent years. This district along with Anantapur and Kurnool has been identified as important horticulture crop clusters in the state and country. Under the guidance of the central government and Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, a Cluster Development Programme has been implemented in 53 horticulture crop clusters across the country to promote integrated and market-led development of pre-production, production and post-harvest, value-added products, food processing and cold storage containers, logistics, branding and marketing to enhance its quality, production per hectare, average annual production and export value.
Kadapa district in particular has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of this progressive scheme of the central government and has seen record production of bananas in the last 2 years. It is estimated that over 75,000 metric tonnes of bananas a year will be exported to UAE, Nepal, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran.
India is the largest producer of bananas in the world with Andhra Pradesh contributing close to 18 percent of the total production in the country. Banana is cultivated in over 25,000 acres of land in this district with Pulivendula town accounting for 10,000 acres. The sanction of a prestigious research centre exclusively for banana cultivation in Pulivendula will go a long way to address increase in crop acreage, establishing food storage containers, food parks and processing plants, cold storage containers and ripening units to reduce wastage and crop loss.
Small and marginal farmers grow a variety of high-yielding bananas like Rasthali, G9 Banana – Grand Naine, Red Banana, Karpuravalli, Amruthapani, Chakrakeli, Yenugu Bontha, Thella chakkerakeli and others throughout the year that are sold in the markets of Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Indore and others.
The impetus on banana cultivation and support rendered by the central government in the form of pro-farmer schemes, training on zero, natural and organic farming, subsidies on fertilizers, comprehensive irrigation and water distribution network and use of scientific technology and drones has seen a dramatic rise in the income of the farmers as well as increase in the percentage of rural employment in this district.
As Kadapa has the ideal climate and soil conditions for the cultivation of horticultural crops like mango, banana, lime, papaya, guava, sapota and sweet orange, farmers will be able to improve their standard of living through steady annual revenue.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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