ICAR- National Research Centre for Banana, Trichy has developed a low cost farmers’ friendly technology for the mass multiplication of banana at the farm level. The quality of the planting material produced through this technology is found to be on par with tissue culture plants. ICAR-NRCB, Trichy, organized a one day training programme on ‘Macropropagation Technology’ at the centre for the benefit of the Gaja Cyclone affected banana farmers of Thanjavur and Namakkal districts which is 5th in series. This is jointly funded by ICICI foundation, Trichy Zone and SEED Division – DST, New Delhi. There was an overwhelming response from the farmers and more than 100 farmers participated and benefitted by this programme. Dr.S.Uma, Director, ICAR-NRCB in her inaugural address briefed about the significance of this low cost technology and its spread in various parts of the country. She also motivated the farmers especially women for the development of village nurseries / community nurseries with minimal investment of Rs. 10,000 per unit and such units with the recurring cost of Rs.4000 will be able to produce almost 2000 plants. So each plant costs about Rs.2 and even if sold at Rs.5 per plant, this will be an economically viable enterprise. NRCB also planned to take up off-site training programme at villages to train SHG’s, FPOs’ and farmers to multiply their own banana planting material in a short period.
Further, this can cater to the quality planting material needs of local small and marginal farmers. Mr.Asif Iqbal, Project Manager (Trichy) and Mr.P.Satyanathan, Project Manager (Madurai) were also present and they outlined the role of ICICI foundation in the development of Agriculture related sectors and their projects are under implementation in almost 250 villages of Tamil Nadu. Banana being one of the important crops of Trichy district, they are planning to train the banana farmers on various aspects of banana cultivation starting from planting material to value chain management. Dr. M.S. Saraswathi, Principal Scientist of the centre welcomed the gathering and Dr.S.Backiyarani, Principal Scientist of the centre proposed the Vote of thanks. The technology was demonstrated by Dr. R. Karthic, Young Scientist (DST) and Technical officers of the centre to the farmers and hands on training were also imparted to farming community to take it as a viable enterprise.