Burhanpur in recent times has developed a formidable reputation in the domestic and overseas market for its excellent native banana. Perhaps, the most famous fruit crop cultivated in around 25,000 hectares of land by small and marginal farmers, the humble banana has seen record production of over 17.5 lakh tonnes with a sizeable portion exported to Nepal, Kazakhstan, The Middle East and others.
Farmers prefer to cultivate the high – yielding G9 (Grand Nain or Grande Naine), Basrai (Dwarf Cavendish), Shrimanti and other indigenous varieties in the organic manner. This is why the Burhanpur banana has a natural sweetness and aroma, is of large size, has good shelf life, has a smooth beautiful shape and is rich in potassium, Vitamin C and magnesium.
Farmers have seen a manifold increase in their income after shifting to banana cultivation in this district. The pro – farmer schemes and subsidies of the central and state government along with impetus on seed management, organic, natural and zero farming, drip irrigation, mulching and logistical support has helped farmers get a better price for their produce domestically and increased their export potential.
In fact, the central and state government have sanctioned a number of cold storages and fruit – processing units to prepare value – added products like banana chips, banana powder, banana puree, banana flour, banana beverages and banana – based foods, banana leaves and products from banana fiber that have proven to be real money – spinners for the farmers and youth in this district.
The banana fiber is used in the paper and textile industries, to make puja mats, yoga mats, brooms, planters and handicrafts to mention a few. Another product made from banana extracts called Organic Liquid Nutrient is being tested on the fields to increase the fertility and soil health.
As banana is consumed across the country throughout the year, a consistent demand for the fruit and its products will only be in the best interest of the farmers of this district.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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