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Narendra Banana: A future food to heavy rainfall areas.

Heavy rainfall and hilly areas tend to be rigid and do not accept foreign crops. The horticulture department has tried experimenting with different crops like Litchi, Mango, Chikku, Coconut, but have been unsuccessful in their efforts. Also, Paddy cultivation is not seen as a viable option anymore due to the scarcity of labour and non-profitability. Foreign crops that are introduced are invasive in nature and pose a threat to the local biodiversity. Farmers here need a crop that is both commercially viable and also that can serve as food in case there is a crisis for food grains in the future.

Traditionally Marabale and Yelakki are two varieties that are local and indigenous to the highlands of Kodagu. We have developed a new variety of Banana called Narendra Bale which is ideal to be grown as a secondary crop. It has similar characteristics as Nendra, Marabale and Robusta Cavendish (Pacha Bale). Narendra Bale can be grown easily as a mixed crop in Coffee plantations as it grows taller than the coffee plants.

Characteristics of Narendra banana:

  • Adaptability to heavy rainfall and high altitude areas.

  • Grows tall up to 10 to 12 feet.

  • Very good taste, flavor, and texture.

  • Longer shelf-life.

  • Fruits resemble Nendra Banana, tree resembles Mara Bale.

Plant propagation

We propagate plants using a rapid, on-farm method that involves separating the Banana Rhizomes and sprouting the buds of the water suckers. In this method, the water suckers are used instead of the sword suckers for propagation. The buds are kept in primary beds for sprouting and once well rooted, the buds are then transplanted to nursery bags.

The plants propagated using this method grow very well and start flowering within 190 to 200 days. Sword suckers take much longer to develop as an adult plant and the overall performance is a lot better in the plants multiplied with water suckers.

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Advantages of propagating plants in the nursery

  • Plants are disease and pest free.

  • Uniform flowering since plants are propagated at the same time.

  • Mortality rate is less after planting.

  • Early yielding.

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Bulbs of water suckers sprouting in the primary bed.

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Well rooted water sucker ready for transplanting to nursery bags.

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Well grown water suckers in nursery bags ready for transplanting to the field.