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From the Director's Desk
As fourth Director of the ICAR-NRCB, it gives me an immense pleasure to be the part of Silver Jubilee year (1993-2018). I am proud to pen that I also happen to be the first Scientist to join ICAR-NRCB in 1993. The Centre has the privilege of creating state of art infrastructure, laboratories and field facilities to take up the need based, demand driven research. The technologies developed have been well adopted and thus, shooting the annual production from 15.0 MT in 90’s to 30 MT in 2016-17 and elevated India to be ‘Numero Uno’ at global level. ICAR-NRCB has around 15 flagship technologies which revolutionized the banana industry in the last decade and allowed the banana farmers and stake holders to reap the benefits.
The Centre has accomplished a lot both in research and developmental fronts in the last one year, few top achievements are :
  • Release of banana varieties namely, Namwa Khom (Dwarf Karpuravalli) which can withstand wind damage and does not need bunch support ; Saba is another high yielding variety for marginal soils, tolerant to soil moisture/salt stress have been developed and released. These exotic introductions with more than 10 years of research efforts and are ready for large scale adoption.
  • Technology to export of traditional cv. Nendran to UAE (Dubai and other middle east countries) through sea-port which reduced the transport cost by 7 times. This is expected to increase the export quantum of bananas and thus farmers getting premium price. ICAR-NRCB in association and the support of APEDA, Fair Exports, Cochin has successfully shipped 20 tons of Nendran banana twice in ship via Cochin seaport. As on date, around 1000 t were shipped to UAE in last 5 months.
  • Viruses are a major problem in tissue culture banana. ICAR-NRCB has developed a two minutes on-site test kit for detection of banana bract mosaic virus which is cheaper, reliable, can be used on-site or in field even by farmers or tissue culture banana companies.
  • Another technology is quick production of tissue culture plants using bioreactor which is going to make the TC industry to have an exponential growth on the supply of quality plants to the farmers. It is estimated that just 500 l. of embryogenic cell suspension is sufficient to produce plants needed for the country.
  • Low cost portable conveyer belt for transporting the banana bunches from the field to pack house has been developed to shift banana bunches with minimal handling to ensure blemish free export quality banana which is a basic requirement to European markets.
ICAR-NRCB has confirmed the occurrence of dreaded strain of Fusarium wilt, Tropical Race-4 (TR-4) in India. Efforts are initiated on war footing to tackle the disease and stop the spread. The Centre, in collaboration with DAC, SAU’s and other stakeholders are coordinating sensitization programmes across the country. Management trials are underway in endemic areas. Apart from these, Banana sakthi, a micronutrient mix has enormous impact on the productivity and being adopted exponentially by the farmers after realizing its benefits. The centre is delivering a vital service in certification of quality tissue culture plants across country and 90 million TC banana plants have been certified and helped in the quick elimination of infected mother stocks. The certified plants shall boost the productivity of banana with 15% more yield. In order to protect and conserve the traditional landraces, varieties and cvs. Matti, Manoranjitham and Red banana, suckers were supplied to 500 farmers during the last Foundation day ( 21st August, 2017).
We have signed MoA with prestigious NIT, Trichy for developing technologies and student exchange for PG research, MoC with AP State government as their knowledge partners. Mega National banana Festival was conducted in collaboration with the TN State government and TNAU where more than 100 banana varieties were showcased. ICAR-Bioveristy – IITA collaborative project supported by Melinda Gates Foundation, was also launched. The Centre conducted 2 training programmes on ‘Hi-tech Horticulture’ for Bayer officials and Technology exposure to more than 500 farmers and 30 entrepreneurs and women SHGs. Two products have been commercialized. DST has recognized ICAR-NRCB for two DST Postdoc awards and one Young Scientist project. Kissan Mela was celebrated with world renowned banana Scientists from IITA, NARO and Bioverity International who expressed lot of appreciation for the Scientists of ICAR-NRCB and also the NARS operating in India under DARE, GoI for its excellent networking.
The centre has launched an app “NRCBananainfo” in 2017 for the benefit of farmers and other stakeholders. In addition to research work, the centre is working for MGMG programme by adopting 20 villages in and around Trichy and actively involved in Swachchta Bharath activities to create awareness on sanitation. We are open to constructive suggestions to improve our services and meet your expectations and help banana farmers and entrepreneurs to double their income. We hope to have an inclusive growth with all the stakeholders

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