1.                  INTRODUCTION


Banana (Musa sp.) is the second most important fruit crop in India next to mango. Its year round availability, affordability, varietal range, taste, nutritive and medicinal value makes it the favourite fruit among all classes of people. It has also good export potential.


Hi-tech cultivation of the crop is an economically viable enterprise leading to increase in productivity, improvement in produce quality and early crop maturity with the produce commanding premium price.


2.                  OBJECTIVE
The main objective of this report is to present a bankable model for high quality commercial cultivation of the crop. Efforts need to be made to promote private investment in hi-tech horticulture with micro-propagation, protected cultivation, drip irrigation, integrated nutrient and pest management besides making use of latest post-harvest technologies.
3.                  BACKGROUND
3.1              Origin

Banana evolved in the humid tropical regions of S.E.Asia with India as one of its centres of origin.  Modern edible varieties have evolved from the two species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana and their natural hybrids, originally found in the rain forests of S.E.Asia. During the seventh century AD its cultivation spread to Egypt and Africa. At present banana is being cultivated throughout the warm tropical regions of the world between 300 N and 300 S of the equator.


3.2              Area & Production


Banana and plantains are grown in about 120 countries. Total annual world production is estimated at 86 million tonnes of fruits. India leads the world in banana production with an annual output of about 14.2 million tonnes. Other leading producers are Brazil, Eucador, China, Phillipines, Indonesia, Costarica, Mexico, Thailand and Colombia.


In India banana ranks first in production and third in area among fruit crops.  It accounts for 13% of the total area and 33% of the production of fruits. Production is highest in Maharashtra (3924.1 thousand tones) followed by Tamil Nadu (3543.8 thousand tonnes). Within India, Maharashtra has the highest productivity of 65.70 metric tones /ha. against national average of 30.5 tonnes/ha. The other major banana producing states are Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. (Vide Table-1)













Table 1 : State-wise Area, Production & Productivity of

Banana during 2001-02




(‘000 Ha.)


(‘000 MT)







Tamil Nadu












Andhra Pradesh




Madhya Pradesh
























Source : Database of National Horticulture Board, Ministry of Agriculture ,

Govt. of India.


3.3              Economic Importance

Banana is a very popular fruit due to its low price and high nutritive value. It is consumed in fresh or cooked form both as ripe and raw fruit.


Banana is a rich source of carbohydrate and is rich in vitamins particularly vitamin B. It is also a good source of potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. The fruit is easy to digest, free from fat and cholesterol. Banana powder is used as the first baby food. It helps in reducing risk of heart diseases when used regularly and is recommended for patients suffering from high blood pressure, arthritis, ulcer, gastroenteritis and kidney disorders.


Processed products, such as chips, banana puree, jam, jelly, juice, wine and halwa can be made from the fruit. The tender stem, which bears the inflorescence is extracted by removing the leaf sheaths of the harvested pseudostem and used as vegetable. Plantains or cooking bananas are rich in starch and have a chemical composition similar to that of potato.


Banana fibre is used to make items like bags, pots and wall hangers. Rope and good quality paper can be prepared from banana waste. Banana leaves are used as healthy and hygienic eating plates.


4.1              Demand and Supply patterns
Only 0.05% of domestic production is exported and the rest is consumed within the country mostly as a table fruit. However, domestic marketing was largely in the unorganized sector till recently with itinerant trades mopping up the produce at farm level. The marketing chain from producer to customer was long involving four to five intermediaries. This marketing system denied the producer a fair price and also added to the marketing margins putting up the price paid by the consumers.


Maharashtra is the principal producing state. The Agriculture Marketing Board of the state has established ‘Mahabanana’, a farmers’ marketing organization in the year 2002 with headquarters at Jalgaon. There are 26 co-operative societies registered under Mahabanana and each such member society has 300-350 small and marginal farmers. About 8000 farmers have enrolled themselves as members under the organization.



The organization was formed to boost export as well as domestic marketing. It is also involved in supplying quality planting material and in providing guidance and training on various processes from planting to marketing. Pre-cooling units, cold storages and modern pack house facilities are being provided to the growers. It has started a local marketing /procurement centre and has also developed a market information centre.


Jalgaon district has shown the way for setting up a well organized banana industry. This has been achieved by adopting high density planting and single crop cultivation method. Besides meeting the demands for all the markets of Maharashtra state, on an average 12-15 thousand wagon loads are transported every year to the markets in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. Moreover, transportation by road to the markets of neighbouring states like Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan is also quite sizeable.


Agricultural Produce Market, Azadpur, New Delhi is a principal market complex. It is the largest market in Asia and ranks second in the world. An interesting feature of this market is that the Azadpur Railway Station has been declared as a subsidiary yard of principal market of Azadpur for unloading and further distribution of banana received mostly through railway wagons. Special trains carrying banana reach Delhi from Jalgaon district alone.


4.2              Trends in World Trade


Although banana is the main fruit in international trade and the most popular one, ranking second after citrus in terms of value, main banana producing countries, such as India or Brazil, are hardly involved in it.


Bananas are imported mainly by the European Union, the United States of America and Japan, which together accounted for about 70% of world total imports in 2002, while the first ten banana importing countries represented more than 86% of total imports (considering the EU as a whole). Markets such as the Russian Federation, China or Easter European countries are emerging now as destinations for banana exports.


India exports bananas mainly to Middle East countries viz. U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar. The varieties which are in demand internationally include Grand Naine and Cavendish.


The trend in export of banana from India during the period 1999-2000 to 2002-03 is given in Graph 3.

















4.3              Analysis and Future Strategy


There exists scope for increasing productivity in all producing zones of India by adopting improved cultivation practices. Besides production, there is need for equal emphasis on provision of facilities for adopting optimum post harvest technologies. Low volume export of banana is due to non-ideal post harvest practices, transport procedures, lack of proper storage facilities, outdated banana handling practices etc.


Due to mishandling of produce about 25-40% is being wasted and only 2% is processed into value added products, the remaining being used in the raw form. This leads to price imbalance and large price variations both spatial and temporal, which disheartens farmers. In order to sustain production and growth potential, it is essential to produce value added products based on banana, so that farmers get an assured price for their produce all the time.


At present not much of product diversification of banana is done as only few industries are utilizing the fruits for dehydration, chips making and infant foods. Processing of banana for preparation of derivative products seems to be a promising area since bananas can be pulped, juiced or concentrated, canned, sliced and dried. Beverages such as banana wine & banana brandy as also vinegar can be made economically.


There is need to promote and make available the tissue cultured plant material of all varieties for propagation.

Quality control, packing and marketing are other problems faced by processing industries. In order to overcome these, clusters of cottage or small scale industries under a central unit need to be promoted for processing the fruit under standard specified conditions and practices. Packing, branding and marketing has to be done by the central unit.

Efforts have also to be made to develop cost effective suitable packing material for banana export and standardize packaging techniques to have consistent quality.


5.                  PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY


5.1              Agro-climatic requirements


Banana, basically a tropical crop, grows well in a temperature range of 15ºC – 35ºC with relative humidity of 75-85%. It prefers tropical humid lowlands and is grown from the sea level to an elevation of 2000m. above m.s.l.. In India this crop is being cultivated in climate ranging from humid tropical to dry mild subtropics through selection of appropriate varieties. Chilling injury occurs at temperature below 12ºC. High velocity of wind which exceeds 80 km /hr. damages the crop. Four months of monsoon (June to September) with an average 650-750 mm. rainfall are most important for vigorous vegetative growth of banana. At higher altitudes, banana cultivation is restricted to a few varieties like ‘Hill banana”.


Deep, rich loamy soil with pH between 6.5 – 7.5 is most preferred for banana cultivation. Soil for banana should have good drainage, adequate fertility and moisture. Saline solid, calcareous soils are not suitable for banana cultivation. A soil which is neither too acidic nor too alkaline, rich in organic material with high nitrogen content, adequate phosphorus level and plenty of potash is good for banana.


5.2              Growing and Potential Belts


The state-wise growing belts are given in the following :



Growing belts

Andhra Pradesh

East Godavari, West Godavari, Kurnool, Cuddapah


Goalpara, Nagaon, Sonitpur, foothills of Garo hills


Surat, Vadodara, Anand, Kheda, Junagadh, Narmada, Bharuch


Ranchi, Sahebganj


Bangalore, Chitradurga, Shioroga, Hassan, Chikka Mangloor


Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wynadu, Kannur, Kasargod

Madhya Pradesh

Khandwa, Badwani, Khargaon, Dhar


Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Buldhana, Pune, Wardha, Dhule, Nanded, Parbani, Nandurbar, Satara, Sangli, Osmanabad, Buldhana, Akola, Yeothmal, Amravati, Thane, Kulara, Alibag


Ganjam, Puri, Khurda, Gajpati, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Angul, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Deogarh, Koraput, Keonjhar, Raygada, Mayurbhanj

Tamil Nadu

Thoothukudi, Tiruchirapalli, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Karur, Erode, Kanniyakumari

West Bengal

Hooghly, Nadia, North 24 Parganas


5.3              Varieties Cultivated


Commercially, bananas are classified as dessert types and culinary types. The culinary types have starchy fruits and are used in the mature unripe form as vegetables. Important cultivars include Dwarf Cavendish, Robusta, Monthan, Poovan, Nendran, Red banana, Nyali, Safed Velchi, Basrai, Ardhapuri, Rasthali, Karpurvalli, Karthali and Grand Naine etc.


Grand Naine, an imported variety from Israel is gaining popularity and may soon become the most preferred variety due to its tolerance to abiotic stresses and good quality bunches. Fruit develops attractive uniform yellow colour with better shelf life & quality than other cultivars.


Important banana varieties cultivated in different states of India are given below :




Varieties grown

Andhra Pradesh


Dwarf Cavendish, Robusta, Rasthali, Amritpant, Thellachakrakeli, Karpoora Poovan, Chakrakeli, Monthan and Yenagu Bontha



Jahaji (Dwarf Cavendish), Chini Champa, Malbhog, Borjahaji (Robusta), Honda, Manjahaji, Chinia (Manohar), Kanchkol, Bhimkol, Jatikol, Digjowa, Kulpait, Bharat Moni



Dwarf Cavendish, Alpon, Chinia , Chini Champa, Malbhig, Muthia, Kothia , Gauria



Dwarf Cavendish, Lacatan, Harichal (Lokhandi), Gandevi Selection, Basrai, Robusta, G-9, Harichal, Shrimati



Basrai, Singapuri



Dwarf Cavendish, Robusta, Rasthali, Poovan, Monthan, Elakkibale



Nendran (Plantain), Palayankodan (Poovan), Rasthali, Monthan, Red Banana, Robusta

Madhya Pradesh





Dwarf Cavendish, Basrai, Robusta, Lal Velchi, Safed Velchi, Rajeli Nendran, Grand Naine, Shreemanti, Red Banana



Dwarf Cavendish, Robusta, Champa, Patkapura (Rasthali)

Tamil Nadu


Virupakshi, Robusta, Rad Banana, Poovan, Rasthali, Nendran, Monthan, Karpuravalli, Sakkai, Peyan, Matti

West Bengal


Champa, Mortman , Dwarf Cavendish, Giant Governor, Kanthali, Singapuri


5.4              Land Preparation


Prior to planting banana, green manuring crop like daincha, cowpea etc. may be grown. The land can be ploughed 2-4 times and leveled. Ratovator or harrow is used to break the clod and bring the soil to a fine tilt. During soil preparation basal dose of FYM (about 50 tonnes/ha. before last harrowing) is added and thoroughly mixed into the soil.


5.5              Planting


5.5.1 Planting Material


About 70% of the farmers are using suckers as planting material while the rest 30% of the farmers are using tissue culture seedlings. Sword suckers with well developed rhizome, conical or spherical in shape having actively growing conical bud and weighing approximately 450-700 gm are commonly used as propagating material.


Suckers generally may be infected with some pathogens and nematodes. Similarly due to the variation in age and size of sucker, crop is not uniform, harvesting is prolonged and management becomes difficult. Therefore, in-vitro clonal propagation i.e. Tissue culture plants are recommended for planting. They are healthy, disease free, uniform in growth and early yielding.


5.5.2 Treatment of Planting material


The roots and base of the planting material may be removed. The suckers are dipped in a solution of 0.5 % monocrotophos and bavistin (0.1%) before planting.




5.5.3 Planting season


Planting of tissue culture banana can be done throughout the year as per the market demand except when the temperature is too low or too high. The planting time may be adjusted so as to avoid high temperature and drought at the time of emergence of bunches (i.e. approx. 7-8 months after planting). The planting time for long duration cultivars is different from short duration ones.


Thus, the important seasons for planting followed in different states of India are :



Planting time


·         Kharif  - June – July

·         Rabi - October – November

Tamil Nadu

·         February – April

·         November - December


·         Rainfed- April-May

·         Irrigated crop- August- September


5.5.4 Spacing


Traditionally banana growers plant the crop at 1.5m x 1.5m with high density; however plant growth and yields are poor because of competition for sunlight. The region like north India, coastal belt and where humidity is very high and temperature falls down upto 5-7ºC, the planting distance should not be less than 2.1m x 1.5m.





1.5 x 1.5 m., 2 x 2 m. or 2.5 x 2.5 m.


1.5 x 1.2 m., 1.5 x 1.37 m.


Banana planting is carried out on the basis of patta double line method. In this method, the distance between the two lines is 0.90 to 1.20 m. while plant to plant distance is 1.2 to 2 m. Due to this spacing, intercultural operations can be carried out easily and cost of drip irrigation is decreased. Experiments carried out recently show that good quality banana and heavy bunch can be achieved by keeping the planting distance at 1.8 X 1.8 m. However, to get maximum yield plantation is done at 1.2 X 1.5 m.


High Density Planting : High density planting is in practice to accommodate 4444 to 5555 plants per ha. and yield of plants is recorded to be in the order of 55-60 tonnes/ha. or even more. In general square or rectangular system of planting is a common practice followed by the cultivators. Planting 3 suckers / pit at a spacing of 1.8 x 3.6 m. (4,600 plants per ha.) for Cavendish varieties and 2 x 3 m. for Nendran (5000 plants per ha.) varieties are also followed.


5.5.5 Planting Method


Pit planting is commonly followed in garden system of cultivation. A pit size of 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5 m. is normally required. Small pits are dug in case of ridges and furrows. The pits are to be refilled with topsoil mixed with 10 kg of FYM (well decomposed), 250 gm of neem cake and 20 gm of carbofuran. Prepared pits are left open for 15-20 days for solar radiation to kill all the insects, soil borne diseases and for aeration before refilling. In saline alkali soil where pH is above 8, pit mixture is to be modified incorporating organic matter and gypsum.


The suckers are planted in the centre of the pit and soil around is compacted. Plants are planted in the pits keeping pseudostem 2cm below the ground level. Soil around the plant is gently pressed. Deep planting should be avoided. The field is irrigated immediately after planting.


Furrow planting is practiced in annual planting system in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Trench planting is practiced in wet land cultivation of Cauvery delta region of Tamil Nadu.


5.6               Nutrition


Banana requires high amount of nutrients, which are often supplied only in part by the soil. Nutrient requirement (worked out on all India basis) is 10 kg FYM, 200 - 250gm N; 60-70gm P; 300gm K/plant. Banana crop requires 7-8 Kg N, 0.7- 1.5 Kg P and 17-20 Kg K per metric ton yield. Traditionally farmers use more of urea and less of phosphorous and potash. Urea is applied in three to four split doses.


About 100 g. of N/plant as top dressing in three equal split doses 60, 90 and 120 days after planting.  Further application of 100 g. potash and also 40 g. of phosphorus are essential and applied at planting. Application of full dose of P and K at planting and N in three equal doses in shallow rings about 8-10 cm. deep are recommended.


Application of 150 g. N in vegetative phase and 50 g. N in reproductive phase enhances the yield. Application of 25% N as farmyard manure and 1 kg. neem cake is beneficial. The application of 25 % N in organic form, 75 % N in inorganic form along with growing green manure crops is found to be beneficial. The requirement of phosphorus is comparatively low. Superphosphate forms the major source of P followed by the application of rock phosphate 50-95 g./ plant at planting. In acidic soils, triple superphosphate or diammonium phosphate is recommended. Phosphorus is applied in single dose at the time of planting and quantity of P2O5  depends upon the soil type and varies from 20 to 40 g. /plant.


Potassium is indispensable in banana cultivation due to its role in vital functions. It is not stored and its availability is influenced by temperature. Thus continuous supply is required at finger filling stage. Application of K (100 g.) in two splits during vegetative phase and 100 g. in two splits during reproductive phase is recommended. Application of 200-300 g. K2O is recommended depending upon the cultivar. Plantains need higher K than other group of cultivars. Muriate of potash is generally used as a source of K. But in soils with pH above 7.5, potassium sulphate is advantageous.


Calcium influences yield through its interaction with N, P and K. In acidic soils, use of dolomite (Mg2CO3) and limestone (CaCO3) as soil amendments is common.


In case of acute Mg deficiencies, foliar application of Mg SO4 is found to be effective. Although sulphur deficiency in soils has been reported in some cases but is not a serious problem in case of banana. Sulphur uptake is active during sucker to shooting stage but after shooting sulphur supply comes from leaves and pseudostem.


Fertigation : In order to avoid loss of nutrients from conventional fertilizers i.e. loss of N through leaching, volatilization, evaporation and loss of P and K by fixation in the soil, application of water soluble or liquid fertilizers through drip irrigation (fertigation) is adopted. A 25-30% increase in yield is observed using fertigation. Moreover, it saves labour and time and the distribution of nutrients is uniform.


5.6.1  Micronutrients


Combined foliar application of ZnSo4 (0.5%), FeSo4 (0.2%), CuSo4 (0.2%) and H3Bo3 (0.1%) applied at 3,5 and 7 months after planting helps to increase yield and quality of  banana.


5.7              Irrigation


Banana being a succulent, evergreen and shallow rooted crop requires large quantity of water for increasing productivity. Water requirement of banana has been worked out to be 1,800 – 2,000 mm per annum. In winter, irrigation is provided at an interval of 7-8 days while in summer it should be given at an interval of 4-5 days. However, during rainy season irrigation is provided if required as excess irrigation will lead to root zone congestion due to removal of air from soil pores, thereby affecting plant establishment and growth. In all, about 70-75 irrigations are provided to the crop.


Banana production should be supported by an efficient irrigation system like drip irrigation.  Normal furrows, basin and trench systems are followed. Application of drip irrigation and mulching technology has reported to improve water use efficiency. There is saving of 58% of water and increasing yield by 23-32% under drip. Besides, the system also enables efficient fertilizer application through the fertigation technique.


5.7.1 Drip Irrigation


Application of irrigation through drip system helps to maintain the proportion of soil air and soil water which results in early and vigorous growth of bunches. Raw bunch gets matured earlier by 30-45 days and yield is increased by 15-30 % and 58-60 % of water is saved on irrigation, weed is less, cost on intercultural operations is saved and water soluble fertilizers can be applied.


Drip irrigation may be given @ 15 l. /plant /day from planting to 4th month , 20l. /plant/day from 5th month till shooting stage and 25 l./plant/day from shooting till 15 days prior to harvest.


Two methods are followed in case of drip irrigation:


i)                    Single line system : The spacing between the plants is 1.5 X 1.5 m. One lateral line and one dripper per plant is used.

ii)                   Double line system : The distance between the lines is 1 m., between two plants is 1.5 m. and between two double lines is 1.8m. each. One lateral and one dripper for two plants are arranged. The distance between the two lines may also be 2.1 X 2.4 m.


Table-3   :  Impact of Drip Irrigation





furrow irrigation

Drip system


1. Height of plant




+ 16.28

2. Girth of plant




+ 11

3. Average no. of leaves




+ 1.18

4. Average flowering period




- 32

5. Average harvesting period




- 36

6. Average weight




+ 3

7. Percentage of plants  





+ 22

8. Yield




+ 23.32

9. Increase in yield (Per ha.)





10. Water saved





Source : MPKV Extension Publication No.298, 2000, Mahtma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri, Maharashtra

5.8              Intercultural Operations


The following inter-cultural operations are recommended for optimum productivity of the crop :


i)          Spraying of Glyphosate before planting @ 2 lit/ha is carried out to keep the plantation weed free.

ii)         Four to five weedings are to be done whenever necessary.

iii)         Harrowing the field three to four times to keep the soil loose. Earthing up should be done at 3-4 months after planting raising the soil level around the base of the plant by 10-12”. It is better to prepare a raised bed and keep the drip line on bed 2-3” away from the plant. It also helps to protect plants from wind damage and production losses to some extent.


5.9              Desuckering


Removal of unwanted suckers is a critical operation in banana for reducing internal competition with the main plant. Small suckers are removed on regular basis upto 7-8 months.


5.10          Propping


Due to heavy weight of bunch the plant goes out of balance and the bearing plant may lodge and production and quality are adversely affected. Therefore they should be propped with the help of two bamboos forming a triangle by placing them against the stems on leaning side. This also helps in uniform development of bunch.


5.11          Bunch cover & spray


Covering bunch using dried leaves of the plant is economical and prevents bunch from direct exposure to sunlight and also enhances the quality of fruit. But in rainy season this practice should be avoided. Sleeving of bunch is done to protect fruits against dust, spray residue, insect and birds. Transparent and perforated polythene sheets with 2% (during cool season) – 4% (during summer season) ventilation may be used to cover bunches. This may be combined with neem cake application (1 kg./ha.) . It increases the temperature around developing bunch and also helps in early maturity.


Spray of monocrotophos (0.2%) after emergence of all hands is effective in controlling the thrips. Thrips attack discolors the fruit skin and makes it unattractive.

5.12          Dehandling of false hands of bunch


Some incomplete hands in a bunch which are not fit for quality produce should be removed soon after bloom. This helps in improving the weight of other hands, finger size and improved skin : pulp ratio to meet the export standards. 


5.13          Mulching


Use of wheat straw and banana straw as a mulch material (12.5 kg./plant) in banana orchards is useful in increasing the bunch weight and conservation of soil moisture. The mulch is applied at the beginning of summer (February).


5.14          Inter-cropping


Root system of banana is superficial and gets easily damaged by cultivation. Therefore, use of intercrop is not desirable. However short duration crops (45-60 days) like mung, cowpea, daincha are to be considered as green manuring crops. Leguminous crops, beetroot, elephant foot yam, ginger, turmeric and sunnhemp may be grown as an inter-crop during the first 3-4 months. However, growing of cucurbitaceous vegetables should be avoided as they are bearer of viruses. In coastal regions of Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, banana is grown in coconut and arecanut plantations with tall cultivars.


5.15          Growth regulators

In order to improve the grade of bunches 2,4 D @ 25 ppm. (25 mg./l.) may be sprayed after the last hand has opened. This also helps to remove the seeds in certain varieties e.g. Poovan and CO-1. Spraying with CCC (1000 ppm.) at 4th, 6th month after planting and plantozyme @ 2 ml./l. at 6th and 8th month after planting helps to achieve higher yield.


After full development of bunch, potassium dihydrogen phosphate (0.5%) and urea (1%) or 2,4 D solution (10 ppm.) is to be sprayed on the bunch so that banana size and quality is improved.

5.16          Other farm operations
Other farm operations include the following :

i)          Removal of dry leaves (green leaves should not be removed).

ii)         During the winter months if temperature goes below 100 C, growth of the plant is affected. Under such circumstances, irrigation is to be provided at night or smoking is to be done by inducing fire.

iii)         If neem cake of 1 kg. per plant is applied during winter months, the formation of bunch becomes easier.

iv)        Plantation should be protected from strong winds by growing tall plants along the farm border.

v)         Bamboo poles or eucalyptus poles are used for giving support to the banana plant.

5.17          Plant Protection Measures
5.17.1    Insect Pests
The insect pests mostly observed are root stock/rhizome weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus) , stem borer (Odioporus longicollis), thrips, banana beetle ( Nodostoma subcostatum), banana aphid (Pentalonia nigronervosa) and nematodes. Selection of healthy planting material and suitable intercultural operations apart from application of 0.04% endosulfan, 0.1 % carbaryl or 0.05 % monocrotophos depending upon the type of pest infestation have been found to be effective in controlling the pests.
5.17.2  Diseases


The main diseases reported are panama wilt (Fusarium oxysporum), anthracnose (Gleosporium musarum), leaf spot (Sigatoka) [Mycosphaarella musicola & Cercospora musae] , shoot rot (Ceratostomella paradoxa) and viral diseases. Disease free planting material should be used and the infected plant parts destroyed. Spraying with 1 % Bordeaux, copper oxychloride or carbendazim in case of fungal infections has been found to give positive results.


5.18          Harvesting  and Yield


Banana is harvested when the fruit is slightly or fully mature depending on the market preferences. For long distance transportation, harvesting is done at 75-80 % maturity.  The fruit is climacteric and can reach consumption stage after ripening operation.


The planted crop gets ready for harvest within 12-15 months of planting and the main harvesting season of banana is from September to April.  Bunches attain maturity from 90-150 days after flowering depending upon variety, soil, weather condition and elevation. Bunch should be harvested when fingers of second hand from top are 3/4 rounded with the help of sharp sickle 30cm above the first hand. Harvest may be delayed upto 100-110 days after opening of the first hand. Harvested bunch should generally be collected in well padded tray or basket and brought to collection site. Bunches should be kept out of light after harvest, since this hastens ripening and softening. For local consumption, hands are often left on stalks and sold to retailers.


The dwarf varieties are ready for harvesting within 11 to 14 months after planting while the tall varieties take about 14 to 16 months. After harvest of bunch, only leaves are to be cut and plant system is retained for ratoon crop development. This improves the food supply and about 15 % can be saved on irrigation. For getting good quality banana, only 7 to 8 berries are to be retained in a bunch.


First ratoon crop would be ready by 8-10 month from the harvesting of the main crop and second ratoon by 8-9 months after the second crop. Thus over a period of 28-30 months, it is possible to harvest three crops i.e. one main crop and two ratoon crop. The yield of banana depends on a number of factors such as variety, plant density, management practices etc.


Table - 4  : Variety-wise average yield of banana (tonnes/ha.)



Average yield (tones/ha.)

Basrai, Rasthali




Grand Naine


Ardhapuri , Meanyham


Hirsal, Safed Velchi, Red banana, Lal Velchi






Dwarf Cavendish , Robusta Champa & Chini desi





6.                  POST HARVEST MANAGEMENT


6.1              Grading


Grading is mainly based on size, colour and maturity of the fruits. While grading, smaller fruits are separated from the larger ones in order to achieve uniform ripening. Immature, overripe, damaged and diseased fruits are discarded in the process of grading.


The fruits are generally harvested early in the season at a pre-mature stage to capture early market. Ethylene application is the best method to hasten ripening without loss in fruit quality and flavour. Mature fruits are ripened with lower doses of ethrel for uniform colour development (slow ripening under controlled condition at 150-180 C).


6.2              Storage


Mature green bananas can be stored for upto 3 weeks in ethylene free air or upto 6 weeks in a controlled atmosphere at 140 C.


6.3              Packing


Wooden or cardboard boxes, rectangular in shape and bamboo baskets are used for packaging and transportation of fruits. In some cases banana bunches are packed in old gunny bags wrapped with banana leaves. Due to poor packing quality the bananas deteriorate and fetch low price.


Packing of hands or dehanded fruits in polythene (about 100 gauge polythene bags with 0.2% holes ) enhance the shelf life under room temperature as well as in cold storage, while polythene bags without perforations develop fungal infections due to high humidity.


High quality bananas are generally exported. Firstly, fingers are removed from the bunch and washed in water. Then they are washed in dilute sodium hypochloride solution to remove the latex, dipped in 0.1 % of carbendazime solution and finally air dried. These fingers are graded on the basis of their length & girth and packed in plastic corrugated fibre board (CFB) cartons having capacity of about 13 to 14.5 Kg.  A suitable packing material like foam etc. may be used. These boxes are kept at 13-150 C temperature and 80-90% humidity having cold storage. Bananas can be stored in such controlled atmosphere in a cooling chamber for a period of 20-25 days. The bananas are to be exported via cold chain of shipment at 130  C and refrigerated vans in the country.


6.4              Transportation


Road transport by trucks/lorries is the most popular mode of transport due to easy approach from orchards to the market. For distant markets rail wagons are used.


6.5              Marketing


Several intermediaries like wholesalers and commission agents, are involved in marketing of the fruit. Private traders carry out nearly 95% of the trade and even provide credit to farmers for cultivation, but at high rate of interest. Cooperatives account for the balance 5% of the volume of trade.

7                 TECHNOLOGY SOURCES


The major sources for technology, as well as quality planting material are:


(i)            Assam Agricultural University, Borbheta, Jorhat-781013, Tel : (0376)-2340044.

(ii)          Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Hessarghatta, Bangalore-560089, Karnataka, Tel (080)-28466471/6353.

(iii)         Horticulture Research Station, Assam Agriculture University, P.O. Kahikuchi, Guwahati-781017, Tel : (0361)-2840232.

(iv)        Regional Research Station,Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Neemkheda Road, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, Tel : (0257)-2250986.

(v)          Tissue Culture & Agricultural Services, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltc., Jain Plastic Park, N.H.No.6, Bansbari, P.O. Box-72, Jalgaon-425001, Maharashtra, Tel : (0257)-2258011/22.

(vi)        Mahabana, Krishi Utpanna Bazar Samittee , Jalgaon-425003, Maharashtra, Tel : (0257)2271150

(vii)       National Centre for Research on Banana (ICAR), Thogamalai road, Thayanur P.O., Trichi-620102, Tamil Nadu, Tel : (0431)-2618104/106.

(viii)     Department of Horticulture, Birsa Agriculture University, kanke, Tel : (0651)-2230691.

(ix)        Department of Horticulture, Horticulture & Agro-Forestry Research Programme(ICAR), Plandu, Ranchi, Jharkhand, Tel : (0651)-2260141, 2260207.

(x)          Department of Horticulture , JNKUV, Jabalpur (Adhartal), Madhya Pradesh, Tel : 2480771 (PBX-345). 2481773 (PBX-345).

(xi)        State Horticulture Farm, Adhuthurai, Thiruvidaimarudur TK, Thanjuvar district, Tamil Nadu.

(xii)       Directorate of Horticulture, Shivajinagar, Pune, Maharashtra-560003

(xiii)     Directorate of Horticulture, Khanpara, Guwahati-781022, Assam.

(xiv)     Directorate of Horticulture, Lalbagh, Bangalore, Karnataka.

(xv)      Assam Horticulture Society, Directorate of Agriculture Campus, Khanapara, Guwahati-22, Tel : (0361)-2333175.


8                    ECONOMICS OF A ONE ACRE MODEL


8.1              High quality commercial cultivation of crop by using tissue culture planting material and drip irrigation leads to multiple benefits viz.


·                     Synchronized  growth, flowering and harvesting;

·                     Reduction in variation of off-type and non-fruit plants;

·                     Improved fruit quality;

·                     Makes possible harvesting of three crops within 36 months and harvesting of 99% plants;

·                     Increases average productivity by more than 60%.


Costs & Returns


8.2              A one acre plantation of the crop is a highly viable proposition.  The cost components of such a model along with the basis for costing are exhibited in Annexures I.   A summary is given in the figure below.  The project cost works out to Rs.1.25 lakhs.



            Project Cost:

                                                                                                               (Amount in Rs.)

Sl. No.


Proposed Expenditure


Plantation Expenses




Cost of planting material




Manures & fertilizers




Insecticides & pesticides




Cost of Labour




Others, if any, (Power)











Tube-well/submersible pump




Cost of Pipeline




Others, if any, please specify







Cost of Drip/Sprinkler











Labour shed & Pump house




Farm Equipment







Land Development




Soil Leveling












Others, if any, please specify







Land, if newly purchased (Please indicate the year)



Grand Total


            @Cost of newly purchased land will be limited to 10% of the total project cost.                                                                                                       

8.3              The major components of the model are:


·                     Land Development:  (Rs.4.00 thousand):  This is the labour cost of shaping and dressing the land site.

·                     Fencing (Rs.20.00 thousand):  It is necessary to guard the orchard by barbed wire fencing to safeguard the valuable produce from animals and prevent poaching.  This is part cost of fencing.

·                     Irrigation Infra-structure (Rs.40.00 thousand):  For effective working with drip irrigation system, it is necessary to install a bore well with diesel/electric pumpset and motor.  This is part cost of tube-well.

·                     Drip Irrigation & Fertigation System (Rs.25 thousand):  This is average cost of one acre drip system for banana inclusive of the cost of fertigation equipment.  The actual cost will vary depending on location, plant population and plot geometry.

·                     Equipment/Implements (Rs.1.0 thousand):  For investment on improved manually operated essential implements a provision of another Rs.1.00 thousand is included.

·                     Building and Storage (Rs.10.0 thousand):  A one acre orchard would require minimally a labour shed and a pump house which could be used as store also.

·                     Cost of cultivation (Rs.24.90 thousand):  Land preparation and planting operations will involve tractor hiring and manual labour, the cost of which will come to Rs.4.90 thousand.  The cost of planting material works out to Rs. 11.0 thousand i.e. 2200 plants @ Rs. 5 per plant.


8.4              Labour cost has been put at an average of Rs. 70 per man-day.  The actual cost will vary from location to location depending upon minimum wage levels or prevailing wage levels for skilled and unskilled labour.


8.5              Recurring Production Cost:    Recurring production costs are exhibited in Annexure III.  The main components are planting material, land preparation, inputs .application (FYM, fertilizers, liming material, plant growth regulators, plant protection chemicals etc.) and labour cost on application of inputs, inter-cultural and other farm operations.


8.6              Besides, provision is also included for power charges, protection of the plantation (cost of material for wind protection and polythene bunch covers), labour for harvesting and packing/transportation charges for the produce to the nearest secondary market.  The total recurring production cost for a one acre orchard works out as below:



                                    Year 1                                      25.40

                                    Year 2                                      14.70

                                    Year 3                                      14.30  


8.7              Returns from the Project:  The yield from the plantation is estimated at 22 tonnes (per acre) comprising 12 tonnes from the main crop and 10 tonnes from the following two ratoon crops (vide Annexure III).  Valued at Rs.6500 per tonne the total realization of the three crops works out to Rs.1.43 lakhs.


Project Financing


8.8              Balance Sheet:  The projected balance sheet of the model is given at Annexure IV.  There would be three sources of financing the project as below:


                                    Source                                                   Rs.Thousand


                                    Farmer’s share                                               62.50

                                    Capital subsidy                                               25.00

                                    Term loan                                                        37.50

                                    Total                                                              125.00


8.9              Profit & Loss Account:  The cash flow statement may be seen in Annexure V.   Annexure VI projects the profit and loss account of the model.  Gross profit for three years three years works out to Rs. 114 thousand. 


8.10          Repayment of Term Loan:   The term loan will be repaid in 11 six monthly installments with a moratorium of 18 months.  The rate of interest would have to be negotiated with the financing bank. It has been put at 12% in the model (vide Annexures VII & VII-A).  Depreciation has been worked out in Annexure VIII.


8.11          R/BCR:  The viability of the project is assessed in Annexure IX over a period of 5 years.  The IRR works out to 16.96 and the BCR to 1.6.


8.12          The Debt Service coverage ratio calculations are presented in Annexure X.  The average DSCR works out to 4.40.    


8.13          Payback Period:  On the basis of costs and returns of the model, the pay back period is estimated at 3.47 years (vide Annexure XI).   


8.14          Break-even Point:  The break even point will be reached in the 3rd year.  At this point fixed cost would work out to 47.2% of gross sales - vide Annexure XII.