Farmers discuss new techniques to improve banana cultivation, at National Horticulture Fair 2021

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As part of the ongoing five-day National Horticulture Fair 2021, farmers from the Northeast, Maharashtra and Goa on Thursday participated in a virtual interaction programme with scientists from the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Horticultural Research and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

They discussed fruit tree canopy management and the rhizome rot disease in a banana plantation. Assam is one of the top 10 banana producing states in the country, with Maharashtra holding the top position. The experts said that banana being a succulent, evergreen and shallow-rooted crop, it requires a large quantity of water for increasing its productivity.

“Water management is important for maintaining banana crops. In winter, irrigation should be provided once a week, while in summer it should be given at an interval of twice weekly or 10 days, depending on the climate. However, during the rainy season, water should be provided only if required, otherwise excess irrigation will lead to root zone problems, such as rhizome rot disease,” the experts said.

They added that the farmers should take steps to decongest its water flowing channels. Another expert said that the moment a farmer notices such disease in his plantation, he must remove such plants and immediately clean the area thoroughly besides taking steps to bury the rotten plants deep in the field instead of dumping them.

“As the bacteria of this disease multiplies easily, it will spread to other trees easily. Therefore, disposing of such trees is of utmost importance to prevent this disease from spreading to other plants.” The experts also added that the yield automatically improves if the trees are pruned properly, as it helps absorb sunlight adequately.

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“Many farmers do not take canopy management seriously and as a result of this, fruit-bearing trees produce fewer fruits. Canopy management should be taken up from the first year of the plantation of these trees,” the experts said.