Jammu & Kashmir state is blessed with all kinds of fruits and is a net exporter to the rest of the country and abroad. However, the major fruit i.e. banana is imported to the tune of Rs. 200 crore per year. In order to bring commercial cultivation of banana in J&K, the CSIR- Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine conceived a new biotechnology driven programme. This work was jointly done by CSIR-IIIM, Jammu and Cadila Pharmaceutical, Ahmedabad. After full trial and established tissue culture and agriculture practice, Dr. Ram Vishwakarma, Director IIIM Jammu launched the J&K grown banana fruit. Scientists have achieved an exceptional achievement after they successfully cultivated bananas in Jammu and Kashmir. For the first time, the experiment of growing bananas in Jammu and Kashmir has succeeded with precision.
Vishwakarma said “Experimental works involved growing the banana by tissue culture technique at Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM) Jammu. The samplings of this high quality tissue culture variety known as Bhim Grand Naine (G-9) banana were brought from Agro Division of Cadila Pharmaceutical Limited, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The first trial of cultivation over two acres land of Field experimental farm Chatha has been successfully completed.”
First cultivation trial was conducted by planting 2000 samplings of banana plants with the narrow spacing in August 2016. The fruit setting commenced in July-August, 2017 while as the maturity and harvesting attained in 13 months. “The plant grew to a height of 6.5 to 7.5 feet and gave yield 20-30 kg per plant and 20-25 tonnes/acre. In term of economy involved, as per market analysis, price of banana in Jammu is approximately Rs. 20 per kg. Thus on an average, 20-30 Kg yield/plant gives Rs. 250-300/Banana plant.”
Approximately Rs. 2.5 lakh net return can be obtained by cultivation of this crop on one acre of land which is attractive business for farmers of the Jammu and Kashmir as it involves very less inputs but lucrative profit.
More than 164,000 acres of land in India is under the banana cultivation. Most edible banana species are widely cultivated in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. Many wild species of banana are also reported from Northeast and South India.
Till date, no initiative of commercial cultivation of banana has been done in Jammu and Kashmir. Scientists said the commercial cultivation of banana in Jammu and Kashmir would be most profitable agriculture business for farmers of the State. This crop will be particularly suit Jammu region.