India Region

Bananas from Madhya Pradesh find passage to Iraq, Iran, Dubai, Bahrain, Turkey

04 February 2024, Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh is gaining visibility in the global agri-export market. It is exporting 30 thousand metric tons of bananas annually from the Burhanpur district alone to Iraq, Iran, Dubai, Bahrain, and Turkey. The fame of Banana of Burhanpur has gone far and wide. Thanks to the banana growers whose enterprise has earned a distinct identity for Burhanpur. About 19,000 banana farmers are cultivating 23,650 acres producing 16.54 lakh metric tons annually. They have enthusiastically harnessed export opportunities after banana was adopted in the One District One Product scheme.

Owing to the profound interest of farmers in the export market and favourable trading infrastructure and a good number of export facilitating units, the banana of Burhanpur has found good domestic and international markets. Mainly G-9, Basrai, Harshali, and Srimanthi varieties are commonly grown. Banana is being promoted under the Prime Minister Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme under which Burhanpur has 30 banana chip processing units. Some are producing banana powder and are also exploring global markets.

Praveen Patil is earning good profit. From his banana farm. He owns 60 acres in Dapora village, which is 16 km from Burhanpur district headquarters. Dapora is a gram panchayat having nearly 700 households. He learned the basics of banana farming from his father and grandfather.

Praveen informs that the last two seasons were good. We got a handsome rate between Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 2,500 per quintal according to market demands. Not every season goes well. Many a time demand and supply have huge gaps.

About the cost of farming, Praveen informs that it comes to about Rs. 140 per plant. He informs that he plants 300 to 500 plants, which produce 450 to 500 quintals if everything goes well. Excessive rainfall, weather, and waterlogging in fields bring harm to the banana plants, which fall prey to cucumber mosaic virus – CMV. There is no option but to destroy infected plants, he adds.

He is an elder in a 15-member joint family. Two younger brothers stay with him. His son Rohal Patil is studying mechanical engineering at a private University in Indore, while Sheetal Patil is studying computer science at the same University. They occasionally participate in farming activities during study intervals.

He further informs that Burhanpur banana has secured a good domestic market. Our banana goes to New Delhi and Haryana. I am also in contact with those who are into agriculture export.

Just 19 km from Burhanpur is Ichhapur village where the density of banana farmers is quite high. Mostly they practice conventional farming. Rahul Chauhan, a 37- year old farmer owns 25 acres. He became acquainted with various stages of banana cultivation since childhood. He lives in a joint family of 17 members. He is the eldest of four brothers. His son Vishwanath Pratap Singh Chauhan is studying in 2nd standard while his daughter Priya is in 6th class. He has one tube well and a traditional well. He understands the economics of farming. Elaborating on profit and loss, he says that it all depends on the behavior of the weather and the market. Many times market rates are good, but the crop is poor. Sometimes, the crop is handsome, but rates are poor. He is also concerned about the pest attack saying that the CMV virus is the only potential threat to healthy banana plants. He says that we have to root out fully grown-up plants if they catch CMV.

He informs that the days are gone when ancestors believed that more plants more yield. We are planting in 8 x 5 feet space. Per acre 1,200 plants are grown. In the past, it was 1,800 plants per acre. The cost per plant comes to about Rs 140 to 150. One acre gives Rs. 1.5 lakh profit. Thus, I earn Rs 25 lakh in one season. This includes farming cost, which comes to about Rs. 8 lakh.

Rahul further informs that the one-acre farming cost is about Rs. 70 thousand. A fully grown-up plant gives a bunch of 15 kg to 20 kg. If cared well, it goes to 30 or 35 kg per bunch. He feels that the Mandi system needs to improve operational functioning in the interest of banana growers. Procedural delay in selling the produce affects prospects of handsome profit.

There are small farmers like Rajendra Chaudhary of Shahpur village, which is 11 km from the district headquarters. He has four acres on which he grows 5000 plants. He earns an average of Rs 5 lakh. He says that the market in the last two or three seasons has been extremely favorable to farmers. His son Mohit Chaudhari is pursuing an MBA from a local management college, while his younger son Aniket has done diploma in fitter trade from the nearby Khaknar government polytechnic.

Banana production has led to the emergence of banana chip processing units. Presently, Burhanpur has 30 such units. Yogesh Mahajan runs the banana chips-making unit Maruti Chips. His annual turnover is about Rs. 20 to 25 lakh. He says that the abundant availability and constant supply of bananas prompted him to open a chips-making unit. He purchases bananas directly from farmers. The purchase rate varies according to crop arrival. The average Rs. 5 per kg is the purchase rate from the fields. After processing, one kg of chips pack costs Rs. 150 at the wholesale rate while the market retail price is Rs. 200 per kg.

About the market management, he says that banana chips are liked for their quality. The quality of chips depends on the maintenance of hygiene, frying technique, use of quality edible oil, and crispiness. He says that local women have been engaged in chip-making. After initial training, they are now skilled. He says that he has a good customer base and some outlets in metro cities like Bhopal. The Burhanpur banana chips are now a household name. He says that banana farmers must get handsome profits so that our chip-making units also survive well. Banana growers like Gokul Chaudhari, and Tushar Patil, cheered wholeheartedly when Burhanpur recently got the Special Mention award under the National One District One Product Award-2023.

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