As many as 7,000 hectares of land was brought under the banana cultivation during the current season (2018-19)’and ‘nendran’ was raised on 2,500 hectares. Most of the landholdings in Andhanallur, Kuzhumani, Pettavaithalai, Manikandam, Mutharasanallur, Jeeyapuram, Thiruvalarcholai and Panayapuram were brought under ‘nendran’ cultivation.
The Gaja cyclone destroyed banana raised on about 1,500 hectares. ‘Nendran’ constituted nearly one third of banana cultivation destroyed by the cyclone. The impact was heavy in Andhanallur and Manikandam.
Farmers, who managed to save the banana crop from the cyclone, have begun harvest on a positive note in areas where banana planting was completed in May and June 2018.
According to a report, yield is good in various areas. It hovers around 12 to 15 tonnes, which is marginally above the average.
There were reports that farmers, who maintained the banana field well as per the standard practices, has got a yield of 15 tonne. Though the north-east monsoon was a failure in the district, adequate supply of water from the Cauvery was said to be main reason for good yield.
Mariappan, a marginal farmer of Vayalur, said that it was too early to come to a conclusion on quantum of yield.
It would be known only after harvest picked up momentum.
Puliyur Nagarajan, president, farmers’ wing, Tamil Maanila Congress, said that most of farmers, who raised ‘nendran’ variety, had run short of water for irrigation. Water for the last leg of irrigation was crucial for full growth of banana.
The government should explore the option to supply water to the banana plantation for at least 15 days.
Krishnamoorthy, Deputy Director, Horticulture, told that the yield was good. It would take some more time to get average yield. Field staff had been told get inputs. Long spell of rain during the last year was said to be the main reason for good yield.
“The yield is good compared to last year. I feel happy that I have produced high quality banana,” says Kannaiyan, who has more than 20 years of experience in raising ‘nendran’ variety. He said the merchant who bought the banana bunches from his field had exported it to a West Asian country.
Reports said the harvest of ‘nendran’ banana had gained momentum over the last few weeks in Tiruchi and Karur districts and harvest was completed in about 50 % of fields.
Asked about the rate offered to ‘nendran’ in Kerala market, another grower said they had been offered between ₹ 26 and 28 a kg, which was less than the price of last week. It could not be considered as nominal.