Representational Image | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Alappuzha: As per data released by the Kerala State Economics and Statistics Department, banana farming is significantly dipping in the state. There has been a drop in cultivation of banana varieties including ethan, njalipoovan and palayankodan among others, the report said.
According to data, ethapazham was cultivated in 59,143 hectares of land in 2006-07. However, it went down to 49,020 hectares in 2021-22, that is, a drop of 10,123 hectares. Whereas, the cultivation of njalipoovan and palayankodan dropped from 53,096 hectares in 2006-07 to 51,901 hectares in 2021-22.
Furthermore, the fruit production from various banana plants has dwindled to 4,10,011 tonnes in 2021-22 from 4,39,803 tonnes in 2006-07. According to farmers and agricultural officials, climate change and unstable prices are the major reasons for the dip in cultivation.
Earlier, ethapazham farming was done in accordance with the rains in June and July coupled with Onam sales. However, changing weather conditions and unstable prices have disrupted the cultivation, causing severe loss for farmers.
In Kerala, generally, ethapazham farming is carried out on a commercial basis at an average market price of Rs 50 - 60 per kilogram. However, due to lack of required cultivation, huge quantities of bananas (nenthra pazham) are being imported from other states too.