3 Feb 2024

Madhya Pradesh: Burhanpur bananas find passage to global markets; farmers narrate their experiences

Madhya Pradesh is gaining visibility in the global agri export market. It is exporting 30 thousand metric tonne banana annually from Burhanpur district alone to Iraq, Iran, Dubai, Bahrain and Turkey. The fame of bananas of Burhanpur has spread far and wide. Thanks to the banana growers whose enterprise has earned a distinct identity for Burhanpur. 

About 19000 banana farmers are cultivating on 23,650 acre producing 16.54 lakh metric tonnes annually. They have enthusiastically harnessed the export opportunities after banana was adopted in One District One Product scheme.

Not every season goes well: Praveen

Praveen Patil is happy with his handsome profit. 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 learnt basics of banana farming from his father and grandfather.

Praveen informs that last two seasons were good. We got 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 gap.

Infected plants have to be destroyed

About the cost of farming, Praveen informs that it comes 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, adverse weather and water-logging in fields harm the banana plants, which fall prey to cucumber mosaic virus - CMV. There is no option but to destroy infected plants, he adds.

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

Burhanpur banana goes to Delhi and Haryana

Praveen further informs that Burhanpur banana has secured 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 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. 

Rahul lives in a joint family of 17 members. He is the eldest among four brothers. His son Vishwanath Pratap Singh Chauhan is studying in 2nd standard while daughter Priya is in 6th class. He has one tube-well and a traditional well. He knows well the economics of farming. 

Many a time market rates are good but crop is poor

Elaborating on profit and loss, he says that it all depends on the behaviour of weather and market. Many a time market rates are good but crop is poor. Sometimes, crop is handsome but rates are poor. He is also concerned about the pest attack saying that CMV virus is the only potential threat to healthy banana plant. He says that we have to root out fully grown-up plants if they are infected with CMV.

He informs that the days are gone when ancestors had belief that more plants more yield. Per acre 1,200 plants are grown. In past, it was 1,800 plants per acre. The cost of per plant comes about Rs 140 to 150. One acre gives Rs. 1.5 lakh profit. Thus, I earn Rs. 25 lakh in one season. 

Rahul further informs that 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 Mandi system needs to improve in the interest of banana growers as 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 district headquarters. He has four acres on which he grows 5000 plants. He earns average Rs. 5 lakh. He says that the market in last two three seasons has been extremely favourable to farmers. His son Mohit Chaudhari is pursuing MBA from a local management college, while younger son Aniket has done diploma in fitter trade from nearby Khaknar government polytechnic.

30 banana chips processing units have emerged

Banana production has led to emergence of banana chips processing units. Presently, Burhanpur has 30 such units. 

Yogesh Mahajan runs banana chips making unit named Maruti Chips. His annual turnover is about Rs. 20 to 25 lakh. He says that abundant availability and constant supply of banana prompted him to open chips making unit. He purchases direct from farmers. Purchase rate varies according to crop arrival. Average Rs. 5 per kg is the purchase rate from the fields. After processing, one kg chips pack costs Rs. 150 at wholesale rate while market retail price is Rs. 200 per kg. 

Burhanpur banana chips are now a household name

The Burhanpur banana chips are now a household name. Banana growers like Gokul Chaudhari, Tushar Patil, cheered wholeheartedly when Burhanpur recently got Special Mention award under National One District One Product Award-2023.

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