Visakhapatnam: Banana export from Andhra Pradesh has seen a rapid growth over the last year. The state has registered growth of over 143% in 2019-2020 compared to the previous year (2018-2019). From a meagre 246 metric tonnes (MT) in 2016-17, the exports touched 45,000 MT in 2019-2020.
A majority of banana farmers in the state grow Karpura Chakkerakeli, Tella Chakkerakeli, Budida Chakkerakeli, Amruthapani, Red-Banana, Sugandhalu (Karpura), Karpuravali (Budida Arti) and Rasthalu varieties of the banana.
The banana has been identified as one of the growth-engine crops of Andhra Pradesh as it stands first in terms of area and production. The area under banana production has increased from a mere 0.79 lakh hectares in 2014-15 to 1.03 lakh hectares and productivity has risen from 44 tonnes to 60 tonnes.
The Green Cavendish premium banana is regularly exported from Andhra Pradesh to countries such as UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Bahrain and Egypt.
Chiranjiv Choudhary, commissioner of horticulture, said that during 2019-20 Andhra Pradesh flagged off India’s first fruit train (banana) from Tadipatri railway station with support of CONCOR to the Gateway Port (JNPT). It carried 11,000 MT of exports through 11 consignments in 40 wagons in each train.
“We have fixed a target to export 75,000 MT of bananas during 2020-21 and roped in six major corporate companies to collaborate with local farmers to enhance the productivity, quality of produce, post-harvest treatment and packing, providing market linkage and ensuring higher prices with a regular increase in income year-on-year,” said Chiranjiv Choudhary,
Banana cultivation has recorded a substantial growth in terms of the rapid increase in production and productivity due to the promotion of tissue culture laboratories and micro-irrigation which helped in the increase of the tissue culture area from 20% of the total area during 2014-15 to 50% during 2018-19.
Due to proactive steps taken by the department of horticulture and adoption of modern technology, like fruit-care, the quality of production has increased significantly and promoted 75 banana farmer producer organisations (FPOs).
Further, a consistent effort is being made to improve the post-harvest infrastructure facilities at the three integrated packing houses in at Narapalla and Kadavakallu areas in Anantapur district and Garividi area in Vizianagaram district.
The department of horticulture has implemented projects in the PPP mode with INI-Farms, Desai Fruits and fruit-care activities in banana clusters with the active participation of FPOs.