The ICAR-National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB) in Tiruchi would soon evolve a standard protocol for export of nendran bananas by sea from Kerala to Europe to cater to the ethnic Indian population there.
A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to establish the sea protocol was signed between the NRCB and the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK), a nodal agency for horticulture promotion in Kerala, at Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday. Exporting the fruit by sea would be much cheaper than sending them as air cargo. NRCB has already developed the protocol and helped in first successful sea shipment of nendran banana to Dubai in 2017. Subsequently, it had worked in partnership with Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), TN Agricultural University, TN Banana Growers Federation, and University of Udinae, Italy, to develop and ship Indian Grand Naine banana to Europe in 2018.
The success of these projects enabled M/s. Fair Exports Pvt. Ltd., Kochi to ship around 100 containers of Nendran to Dubai with just one-fifth of air freight charges, a NRCB statement said.S. Uma, Director, NRCB, while speaking at the MoA signing ceremony in Thiruvanathapuram on Wednesday, observed that India is exporting 200 containers of banana, worth ₹ 300 -400 crore annually to the Middle East. India was the largest producer of banana having more than 10 ethnic varieties such as nendran, red banana, poovan and ney poovan. All these varieties have the tremendous potential for export to markets in the USA and Europe. Present market leaders such as Philippines, Ecuador and Colombia were struggling in banana trade due to dreadful TR4 disease in Grand Naine, the most traded variety in the global market.
With the polyclonal banana cultivation system practiced in India, the country has a fair chance of capturing about 20% of global trade worth Rs.15000 crores in the near future, she said.D.K. Singh, Agriculture Production Commissioner, Kerala, commended APEDA and NRCB for developing standards for exporting nendran banana. The dream of sending Indian bananas to Europe could be achieved by having quality banana in right amount, he said.R. Ravindra, DGM, APEDA, said the quality conscious European market requires stringent quarantine and good agriculture practices and establishing the protocol for the same was an essential pre-requisite.NRCB scientists V. Kumar and P. Suresh Kumar highlighted the importance of bunch care management and post harvest handling to reduce the staggering 20-30% of post harvest losses in the fruit.
(source : The Hindu)