Easing of curbs helps Nanded banana growers to export produce

    Aurangabad, Jul 2 (PTI) With the easing of lockdown
curbs, banana growers from Ardhapur tehsil in Maharashtra's
Nanded district have started getting demands for export of the
fruit to Gulf countries, helping them fetch a better price for
their produce.
    The state agriculture department is also guiding
farmers from the area to export bananas and other crops, an
official from the department said.
    The Ardhapur tehsil and other parts of Nanded,
located around 570 km from Mumbai, have been known for banana
cultivation because of the availability of water in the area.
    Nearly 40 tonnes of bananas are now being exported
everyday from Ardhapur to Oman, Iran, Iraq and Dubai, local
farmer Nilesh Deshmukh told PTI.
    "Export quality bananas are selected from various
farms in Ardhapur and around 40 tonnes are exported everyday.
During the lockdown, we were getting Rs 500 per quintal, but
the unlocking process has helped us fetch Rs 900 per quintal.
Before the lockdown, the rate was Rs 1,400 per quintal," he
    Farmers have been cultivating different varieties of
bananas in this agricultural belt since many years.
    Deshmukh said he and other farmers are now planning to
expand the cultivation process by growing a specific variety
of the crop for export purposes in at least 100 acres of area
in Ardhapur.
    "This will help us to get the same quality of produce
in the area next time. At present, we are selecting export
quality bananas from the entire tehsil," he said.
    Deshmukh said farmers have also improvised the
packaging method and are now vacuum sealing the fruits in
boxes for export. With this, their losses have come down from
25 per cent to one per cent, he said.
    "Now, the losses are almost zero which has helped us
in having financial gains, he added.
    Another local banana grower Vibhishan Dudhate said
with the easing of restrictions, the situation is gradually
getting back to normal and farmers have started getting good
rates for their produce.
    "Now, our crop demand is increasing in foreign
countries and this has led us to fetch a rate of around Rs
1,000 per quintal," he said.
    Earlier, farmers used to send their produce to
markets. But, now companies are directly collecting it from
the farms for export, he said.
    When contacted, Nanded's agriculture superintendent
Ravishankar Chalwade said farmers from Ardhapur and nearby
areas are producing export quality bananas.
    "Now, the department is also helping them to take up
export-oriented crops. The area has ample water and farmers
use drip irrigation method which can increase the cultivation
area in future," he added. PTI AW

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)