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Anantapur: Banana growers see no jolt from pandemic
- Grand Naine banana variety is in great demand in the exports market
- The bananas exported to Central American countries including Ecuador, Brazil, Philippines, Honduras, Sri Lanka and also South African continent
Anantapur: Despite the fluctuations in banana trade volume caused by Covid 19 virus, fortunately for banana farmers, the exports of bananas to other states in India and to countries abroad is going on unhindered. Exports which registered a business volume of Rs 20 crore or so annually before Covid 19 has suffered a decline by an estimated Rs 5 crore during 2020-21.
Banana crop also suffered damage during cyclonic rains during the past one year. Grand Naine banana variety is in great demand in the exports market. Farmers are growing Grand Naine variety of bananas in Beluguppa, Narpala, Putluru, Ellanur, Tadimarri, Yadiki and Pedapappur mandals in the district.
An estimated 8 lakh tonnes of bananas are being produced in 16,000 hectares in these mandals. Around 50 tonnes of banana is produced per hectare of plantation. Of the 8 lakh tonnes of production, 12,000 tonnes of bananas was being exported every year. The bananas are exported to Central American countries including Ecuador, Brazil, Philippines, Honduras, Sri Lanka and also South African continent. The exports are worth Rs 18 crores every year.
Horticulture AD Chandrasekhar told The Hans India that during 2018-19, 12,000 tonnes of bananas worth Rs 20 crore had been exported and during 2019-20 Rs 18 crore. However, during 2020-21 year exports dwindled to Rs 15 crore due to fall in volume of exports and also due to a fall in international prices.
The local crop is also marketed to Bengaluru and to a great extent the Delhi market and even to other northern states apart from the local AP and Telangana markets. Pune based Desai group also acquires bananas from the local farmers.
The Big Bazaar of Future Group and Mumbai-based Instinct and Intellectual (INI Group) have a tie-up with the local farmers who are marketing their produce at higher than local prices. Prior to the entry of multi-national companies, the local traders were having a monopoly over banana market and were dictating terms to farmers but the entry of MNCs improved the lot of farmers.
More than 10,000 banana farmers are cultivating the crop in a minimum of 5 acres each and there are farmers raising bananas in 10 to 50 acres each. Desai Group of Gujarat which is also in the exports are urging the government to purchase the bananas for supply to midday meal scheme to all the government schools to neutralise the losses caused to them by Covid 19 and post-pandemic trade fluctuations.
Dr Azith, manager of INI Group told The Hans India that the company soon after harvesting the crop takes them through a process of cleaning, grading, spraying and improving its quality and outlook before finally packing them.
He said that his company alone was acquiring 10,000 tonnes from the farmers. Besides other companies Big Bazaar and Desai are also exporting the fruit to countries abroad. Delhi is also the biggest market for bananas.