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Tamil Nadu to become worlds No. 1 banana producer

Chennai: Come 2020, Tamil Nadu may become the largest banana-producing region in the world, say experts. Currently, TN, the leading banana producing state in India, accounts for a third of the countrys total banana production. Production capacity of banana is increasing every year, said G. Ajeethan, General Secretary, Tamil Nadu Banana Growers Federation.

According to national horticulture board database 2014, India, the largest banana producing country in the world, has produced 29.7 million tonnes of bananas that year. Of this, more than nine million tonnes came from Tamil Nadu itself. This was a huge leap from say 2008-09 when TN produced only six million tonnes of banana. The state government is providing drip irrigation facilities and subsidies to fertilisers and high-tech, tissue-cultured seedlings which, in turn, is increasing our production capacity, Ajeethan said Banana production in the state equals Ecuadors production and higher than Indonesia, said P Ravichandran, president, Danfoss Industries, a leading engineering firm. While TN can become the largest banana producer, the key is to identify interventions to reduce post-harvest losses in addition to strengthening marketing and branding efforts, he said.

Area under banana cultivation is on the rise in the state. Currently, Tamil Nadu has about 2.12 lakh acres of banana cultivation, data showed. Theni, Trichy, Erode, Thoothukudi, Coimbatore, Kanyakumari, Thanjavur and Dindigul are the prominent regions where the crop is cultivated. Also the export market is also opening up. Last year we exported almost 150 containers of banana. This year it has already crossed 500 containers, said Ajeethan. A big chunk of the Tamil Nadu bananas go to gulf countries. There is a huge demand for the export of Grand Naine banana and other varieties such as Virupakshi, Sirumalai, Rasthali and Red Banana on a large scale, said Dr R.M. Vijayakumar, head, department of fruit crops, Horticultural College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Agriculture University.
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