In a trial shipment, the National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB) in Trichy has shipped 20 tonnes of Cavendish banana to the European market in association with Tamil Nadu Banana Growers Federation from the Kochi port. This was made possible because of the huge market opportunities provided by the European Union for Indian banana producers and exporters owing to short supply from its traditional banana suppliers like Latin American countries. Officials have asked the growers and other stakeholders to utilize the situation to capture the market.
According to the officials, India is the 20th biggest exporter of bananas globally. In recent times, the country had increased its export volume by almost 50% due to further expansion in the harvested area of internationally traded varieties like Cavendish. Indian bananas are already exported to Gulf countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, and Malaysia and Nepal. To boost Indian exports further to the European Union, ICAR-National Research Centre for Banana in Trichy, in partnership with the private sector, has developed a cable way conveyor system and better post-harvest handling practices, the director of NRCB, Trichy, D Uma, said.
“ICAR – NRCB recently conducted an encouraging simulative study in collaboration with Maersk Liner and other partners including Tamil Nadu Banana Growers’ Federation and Greeneers Agro, Tirupur. As a result of this venture, a trial shipment with 20 tonnes capacity was flagged off from Kochi port on Thursday,” she said. The director has also appealed to the government authorities to consider banana as a tradable commodity while signing bilateral agreements and also to do the needful to secure tax relief from importing countries. The director emphasized the need to open more APEDA-certified pack houses in banana belts and reduce the residues of many chemicals to promote exports to quality-conscious markets like EU. There was a need to establish a residue analysis lab at ICAR-NRCB, Trichy, she said.
Vice-chancellor of TNAU, K Ramasamy, said that Tamil Nadu had a huge potential for exports with its diverse traditional varieties like Ney Poovan (baby banana), red banana (vitamin banana) and nendran (snack banana), which may fetch premium prices in market.