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16 Oct 2019, Edition - 1555, Wednesday

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Coimbatore

Tamil Nadu bananas on way to Italy for first time

Covai Post Network

Coimbatore : The first consignment of bananas from Tamil Nadu will leave for the Italian port of Trieste from Kochi port tomorrow. It will take 24 days for the consignment to reach there.

Depending on the success of this shipment of 21 tonnes of Grand Naine variety on trial basis, growers in Tamil Nadu are expecting to receive regular orders. The price is Rs 3-5 more per kg compared to what they get in the local market.

State Agriculture Minister R Doraikannu and Agriculture Secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi and Deputy Director General of the Indian Council of Agriculture AK Singh flagged off the first container of bananas grown in Gudalore in Theni district, from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) campus.

“TNAU and the National Research Centre for Banana had put a lot of effort into exploring market opportunities for bananas abroad. This will further increase our banana farmers’ income,” Duraikannu said through video conference. Banana is cultivated in about 90,600 hectares in the State with an annual production of 36 lakh tonnes. Export bananas should increase the farmer’s income and opportunities, Bedi said.

On the initiative, horticulture department dean, N Kumar said that after coming out with new technology Cable Way conveyor, with the support of TNAU, and Tamil Nadu Banana Growers Federation, a sample package of 400 kg of bananas was sent to the University of Udine in Italy.

They got results of superior shelf life lasting up to 40 days, he said.

The conveyor system takes several tiers of bananas, harvested carefully straight from the farm to the packing house, where it is cleaned with alum and soap, graded, sorted and further cut into smaller tiers and hands.

This helped in avoiding human handling, drudgery and the resulting bruises on the banana’s surface, he said .

The banana is kept inside the container at a temperature of 13 degrees C, which will leave the fruits under a form of dormancy, not allowing it to ripen and stay in the same condition during the voyage.

Since September, the NRCB had come up with a shipping protocol for banana meeting European guidelines.

“While this time we have exported only the Grand Naine variety, we are expecting demand for some of our traditional ones like red banana, poovan, karpooravalli and nendran,” Karuppiah said.

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