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Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003

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Nendran banana prices rise sharply

L.N. Revathy


PRICES of the nendran banana variety have touched a high of Rs 11 a kg even as the season has just begun. This is, however, the rate quoted at the farm-gate.

The rate has more than doubled this season compared to the corresponding period last year, when it was purchased at Rs 3 to Rs 4 a kg at the farm-gate.

Nendran banana is raised in about 16,000 acres in the Karur-Tiruchi belt.

The glut in supply led to a dip in price levels last year.

Despite the depressed price levels, the area had not shrunk.The harvest is said to be less because of severe drought.

"The growers are able to harvest only 60 to 70 per cent. The bunch weight has also fallen," trade sources told Business Line.

Banana research scientists say that the fast rot was due to dryness. "The incidence of banana wilt is on the rise. This bacterial disease does not allow the plant to sprout. This problem is encountered in the planting season," observed Dr. Sathyamoorthy, Director, National Research Centre on Banana (NRCB).

The season is ripe for new planting in the Tiruchi banana belt, he said and pointed out that farmers were apprehensive about new plantings due to the prolonged dry weather conditions.

While the growers commence planting of the Poovan variety in February, other varieties such as Robusta and Nendran are planted between April and end-May.

Unwilling to take the risk, growers are planning to wait for some more time.

According to trade sources, there has been a sudden spurt in demand for the nendran banana, which is the preferred variety in the Maharashtra and Kerala markets.

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