By Purushothaman Ravichandran
President, Danfoss India and Chairman, CII National Task Force on Cold Chain Development.
Exposure Visit of Andhra Pradesh Banana Farmers to Tamil Nadu
The Confederation of Indian Industry’s Food and Agriculture Centre of Excellence (CII FACE), under the guidance of the CII National Task Force on Cold Chain Development, has been working across specific crop value chains in various states. It has been engaging with industry, farmer groups and the Government, with the objective of increasing farm incomes, increasing value addition, catalysing post-harvest infrastructure development and creating brand value for the specific commodity. CII FACE has signed an MOU with Department of Horticulture, Government of Andhra Pradesh to work on banana and mango value chains in Andhra Pradesh (AP). As a part of this initiative, CII FACE organised an exposure visit of AP farmers to Tamil Nadu from March 7 to 10. Tamil Nadu (TN) is the largest banana producing state in India and the Tamil Nadu Banana Growers Federation has made great strides in adoption of scientific banana cultivation and value added banana products. The CII National Task Force on Cold Chain Development has a long association with the Banana Federation. Approximately 30 progressive banana farmers from Anantapur and Kadapa districts of AP, along with 2 horticulture officers, participated in the exposure visit to Theni and Tiruchirappalli districts of TN. During the visit, AP farmers interacted directly with
farmer members of the Tamil Nadu Banana Growers Federation and the Tamil Nadu Farmer Producer Company (FPC) Ltd., a company formed out of the Federation.
They learned the farming practices adopted by the farmers in TN. The two practices that the TN banana farmers were carrying out differently were: ridge and furrow cultivation and keeping the land fallow after the third year harvest. In addition to visits to the banana farms, AP farmers also visited a pack house, ripening chambers and solar drying units operated by the Federation. Visits to the Horticulture College and Research Institute, Periyakulam and National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB), Tiruchirappalli were also organised as a part of the exposure visit. Farmers also visited the research station of NRCB, where they saw a banana residue composting unit and a banana stem
shredder. CII FACE will work with Department of Horticulture, Government of Andhra Pradesh to explore how some of the learnings from the exposure visit could be replicated in the state.