Inter Crops

Pineapple is mostly grown at low elevations in areas with a temperature range of 15 to 30ºC. Pineapple is tolerant to drought because of the special water storage cells. They can be grown with a wide range of rainfall from 600-2500 mm / annum, the optimum being 1000-1500 mm. Pineapple can be grown in a wide range of soils, but does not tolerate waterlogging. It can be grown as a pure crop on plantation scale or asan intercrop. The planting season is May-June. Planting should be avoided during the periods of heavy rains.

VarietiesThere are two varieties viz., Kew and Mauritius. The cultivation practices of which are described separately.

KEW: Kew is a variety recommended for large-scale commercial cultivation in Kerala. The package of recommendations for its cultivation is detailed below.

Preparation of the land: Prepare the land for planting by ploughing or digging followed by levelling. Depending on the nature of land, prepare trenches of convenient length and about 90 cm width and 15-30 cm depth. The trenches are to be aligned at a distance of 165 cm from centre to centre.

Selection and treatment of suckers: Select healthy suckers of uniform size weighing 500-1000 g. keep suckers in open space under shade in a single layer for about 7 days for drying. Strip off a few lower old dried leaves. Allow the suckers to dry and cure for another 7 days. Dip the cured suckers in 1% Bordeaux mixture at the time of planting.

Planting: Rake the soil and plant the suckers in double rows at spacing of 70 cm between rows and 30 cm between plants. Limit the depth of planting to 7.5 to 10 cm. Adopt triangular method of planting in each trench so that the plants in two adjacent rows are not opposite to each other (plant population 40400 / ha).

Induction of flowering:For inducement of uniform flowering, apply 25 ppm ethephon (2-chloro ethyl phosphonic acid) in aqueous solution containing 2% urea and 0.04% calcium carbonate. Flowering will commence from 40th day after application and complete on the 70th day.

MAURITIUS: Mauritius is recommended for commercial cultivation for table purposes and distant marketing, due to its shorter duration, better fruit quality, keeping quality and transportability.Main season of planting is April-May and August-September, but can also be planted in all months except during heavy rain of June-July. The best time for planting is August. For getting maximum price and better keeping quality, the best planting time is April-May. During summer months, if there are no summer showers after planting, irrigation should be given three weeks after planting for proper establishment.

Cropping system: Mauritius can be grown as a pure crop in garden land, reclaimed lowlands and wetlands and as an intercrop in coconut and newly planted rubber plantations. In rubber plantation, it can be grown for the first 3-4 years only.

Land preparation: Prepare the land by digging the area to be planted at 90 cm width in rows / strips, leaving the interspaces undisturbed. However, ploughing can be adopted in level land. Planting is done in paired rows of 45 cm distance between rows and 30 cm between suckers. Suckers may be planted in triangular method in the paired rows. Interspace between the paired rows is kept at 150 cm. Contour planting may be adopted in sloppy areas.

Intercropping in rubber plantations: System of planting is in paired rows at 45 x 30 cm. There will be only one paired row of pineapple in between two rows of rubber.

Selection of suckers: Suckers are selected from disease and pest free healthy plants. Suckers are to be graded into those having 500-750 g and 750-1000 g. The graded suckers are planted in different blocks or plots, to get uniformity in growth and flowering. Bigger suckers give early yield. Dipping of suckers in 1% Bordeaux mixture and 0.05% quinalphos will protect the suckers against diseases and pests. Planting: After preliminary land preparations, planting is done in small pits of 10-15 cm depth at a spacing of 45 cm between rows and 30 cm between plants in the rows. There is no need to plant the suckers in trenches.

Flowering starts by 30 days and completes within 40 days of growth regulator application. Fruits will be ready for harvest by 130-135 days after the application of growth regulator. Harvest over different months / seasons could be obtained by carefully phasing / planning the plantingand growth regulator application.

Ratoon cropping: The plant crop after harvest can be retained as ratoon crop for two more years. After the harvest of the plant crop, chopping the side leaves of the mother plant should be done for easy cultural operations. The suckers retained should be limited to one or two per mother plant. Excess suckers if any should be removed. Earthing up should be done. Other management practices are same as for the plant crop.

Irrigation: During summer months, pineapple variety Kew should be irrigated wherever possible at 0.6 IW/ CPE ratio (50 mm depth of water). It requires five or six irrigations during dry months at an interval of 22 days. Mulching the crop with dry leaves at 6 t/ha will help to conserve moisture.

Irrigation for Mauritius variety: Wherever irrigation facilities are available, providing irrigation in summer months at two weeks intervals results in good fruit size and high yield. If there is no irrigation facility, the crop should be scheduled for harvest before summer months (before March).

Disease: No serious pests or diseases are noticed in the crop except for light incidence of leaf spot disease and of the mealy bugs.For control of leaf spot, spray with any one of the following fungicides when symptoms of the disease are noticed.

FINANCIALS OF 1 HECTARE PINEAPPLE AS INTERCROP

 Sl.
No
ITEMS EXPENSES DURING (Rs.) TOTAL(Rs.)
Ist Year IInd Year IIIrd Year
A.   INITIAL INVESTMENT
1 Land preparation & planting 25000 - - 25000
2 Manuring 9500 9500 9500 28500
3 Weeding 18000 12500 12500 43000
4 Plant protection 2000 2000 2000 6000
5 Ethephon application& mulching 3000 4000 4000 11000
6 Harvesting & marketing 7500 8750 10000 26250
  TOTAL 65000 36750 38000 139750
B.    INPUT COST
1 Planting material 40000 - - 40000
2 Organic manure 10000 10000 10000 30000
3 Chemical fertilizers 19500 19500 19500 58500
4 Plant protection chemicals 10500 5250 5250 21000
5 Tools, implements etc. 5000 5000 5000 15000
  TOTAL 85000 39750 39750 164500
 
  TOTAL EXPENDITURE 1,50,000 76,500 77,750 3,04,250
D.   YIELD/INCOME
1 Fruit yield (kg/ha) 32500 27500 25000 77500
2 Average price (Rs/kg) 7.00 7.00 7.00  
3 Income on fruit (Rs) 2,27,500 1,92,500 1,75,000 448125
4 Income from suckers (Rs) - 3200 6400 9600
  TOTAL INCOME 2,27,500 1,95,700 1,81,400 6,04,600
TOTAL EXPENDITURE 1,50,000 76,500 39,750 3,04,250
  PROFIT 77,500 1.19,200 1,41,650 3,38,350

Note: The above financial is prepared for 1 Hectare

Q & A| on Pineapple

What are the most common intercrops grown in rubber plantations?
Banana and pineapple are the common intercrops grown in rubber plantations during the initial years of immaturity. However, crops like ginger, turmeric, vegetables etc. are also being grown on level or near level lands depending on regional suitability. What are the recent result regarding intercrop studies? Also regarding coffee intercropping? Recent results revealed that banana, pineapple, amorphophallus or yam etc. could be successfully grown as intercrops in rubber plantations without affecting the growth of rubber. Coffee has been found to grow in rubber plantations. But the intercropped coffee plants take longer time to commence yielding compared to pure plantation and the yield is only 20 - 30 % of that of pure plantation. In the case of smallholdings when family labour is also utilised, the cost of cultivation of coffee will be comparatively less.

What should be the minimum distance between rubber and intercrops?
Intercrops should be planted at least 4-5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) away from the base of rubber trees.

Is it necessary to apply fertilizers for the intercrops?
Yes. All the intercrops should be given separate manure as per the recommendations of the individual crops to avoid competition for nutrients.

Is tapioca recommended as an intercrop at any stage of rubber?
Tapioca can be cultivated in the initial two years on level lands.

2. DRUMSTICKS Moringa oleifera is believed to be native to sub-Himalayan tracts of northern India but is now found worldwide in the tropics and sub-tropics. It grows best in direct sunlight under 500 meters altitude. It tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, but prefers a neutral to slightly acidic (ph. 6.3-7.0), well-drained sandy or loamy soil. Minimum annual rainfall requirements are estimated at 250mm with maximum at over 3,000mm, but in waterlogged soil the roots have a tendency to rot. (In areas with heavy rainfall, trees can be planted on small hills to encourage water run-off). Presence of a long taproot makes it resistant to periods of drought. Trees can be easily grown from seed or from cuttings. Temperature ranges are 25-35 degrees Celsius (0-95 degrees Fahrenheit), but the tree will tolerate up to 48 degrees in the shade and it can survive a light frost.

Moringa seeds have no dormancy period, so they can be planted as soon as they are mature and they will retain the ability to germinate for upto one year. Older seeds will only have spotty germination. Moringa trees will flower and fruit annually and in some regions twice annually. During its first year, a Moringa tree will grow up to five meters in height and produce flowers and fruit. Left alone, the tree can eventually reach 12 meters in height with a trunk 30cm wide; however, the tree can be annually cut back to one meter from the ground. The tree will quickly recover and produce leaves and pods within easy reach. Within three years a tree will yield 400-600 pods annually and a mature tree can produce up to 1,600 pods. Coppicing to the ground is also possible, and will produce a Moringa bush is no main new growth is selected, and the others eliminated.

IN THE NURSERY: Use poly bags with dimensions of about 18cm or 8" in height and 12cm or 4-5" in diameter. The soil mixture for the sacks should be light, i.e. 3 parts soil to 1 part sand. Plant two or three seeds in each sack, one to two cms. Deep. Keep moist but not too wet. Germination will occur within 5 to 12 days, depending on the age of the seed and pre-treatment method used. Remove extra seedlings, leaving one in each sack. Seedlings can be out-planted when they are 60-90cm high. When out-planting, cut a hole in the bottom of the sack big enough to allow the roots to emerge. Be sure to retain the soil around the roots of the seedling. To encourage rapid germination, one of three pre-seeding treatments can be employed.

  1. Soak the seeds in water overnight before planting.
  2. Crack the shells before planting.
  3. Remove shells and plant kernels only.

IN THE FIELD: If planting a large plot it is recommended to first plough the land. Prior to planting a seed or seedling, dig a planting pit about 50cm in depth and the same in width. This planting hole serves to loosen the soil and helps to retain moisten in the root zone, enabling the seedlings’ roots to develop rapidly. Compost or manure at the rate of 5kg per pit can be mixed with the fresh topsoil around the pit and used to fill the pit. Avoid using the soil taken out of the pit for this purpose: fresh topsoil contains beneficial microbes that can promote more effective root growth. The day before out planting, water the filled pits or wait until a good rain before out-planting seedlings. Fill in the hole before transplanting the seedling. In areas of heavy rainfall, the soil can be shaped in the form of a mound to encourage drainage. Do not water heavily for the first few days. If the seedlings fall over, tie them to stick 40cm high for support.

DIRECT SEEDING: If water is available for irrigation (i.e., in a backyard garden), trees can be seeded directly and grown anytime during the year. Prepare planting pit first, water, and then fill in the pit with topsoil mixed with compost or manure before planting seeds. In a large field, trees can be seeded directly at the beginning of the wet season.

GROWING FROM CUTTINGS: Use hard wood, not green wood, for cuttings. Cuttings should be 45cm to 1.5m long and 10cm thick. Cuttings can be planted directly or planted in sacks in the nursery. When planting directly, plant the cuttings in light, sandy soil. Plant one-third of the length in the ground (i.e., if the cutting is 1.5m long, plant it 50cm deep). Do not over water; if the soil is too heavy or wet, the roots may rot. When the cuttings are planted in the nursery, the root system is slow to develop. Add phosphorus to the soil if possible to encourage root development. Cuttings planted in a nursery can be out-planted after 2 or 3 months.

SPACING: For intensive Moringa production, plant the tree every 3 meters in rows 3 meters apart. To ensure sufficient sunlight and airflow, it is also recommended to plant the trees in an east-west direction. When the trees are part of an alley-cropping system, there should be 10 meters between the rows. The area between trees should be kept free of weeds.

Trees are often spaced in a line one meter or less apart in order to create living fence posts. Trees are also planted to provide support for climbing crops such as pole beans, although only mature trees should be used for this purpose since the vine growth can choke off the young tree. Moringa trees can be planted in gardens; the tree’s root system does not compete with other crops for surface nutrients and the light shade provided by the tree will be beneficial to those vegetables which are less tolerant to direct sunlight. From the second year onwards, Moringa can be inter-cropped with Rubber.

PINCHING THE TERMINAL TIPS: When the seedlings reach a height of 60cm in the main field, pinch (trim) the terminal growing tip 10cm from the top. This can be done using fingers since the terminal growth is tender, devoid of bark fibre and brittle, and therefore easily broken. A shears or knife blade can also be used. Secondary branches will begin appearing on the main stem below the cut about a week later. When they reach a length of 20cm, cut these back to 10cm. Use a sharp blade and make a slanting cut. Tertiary branches will appear, and these are also to be pinched in the same manner. This pinching, done four times before the flowers appear (when the tree is about three months old), will encourage the tree to become bushy and produce many pods within easy reach. Pinching helps the tree develop a strong production frame for maximizing the yield. If the pinching is not done, the tree has a tendency to shoot up vertically and grow tall, like a mast, with sparse flowers and few fruits found only at the very top.

For annual Moringa types, directly following the end of the harvest cut the tree’s main trunk to about 90cm from ground level. About two weeks later 15 to 20 sprouts will appear below the cut. Allow only 4-5 robust branches to grow and nib the remaining sprouts while they are young, before they grow long and harden. Continue the same pinching process as done with new seedlings so as to make the tree bushy. After the second crop, the trees can be removed and new seedlings planted for maximum productivity.

For perennial Moringa types, remove only the dead and worn out branches every year. Once in four or five years, cut the tree back to one meter from ground level and allow re-growth.

WATERING:Moringa trees do not need much watering, which make them ideally suited for any climate. In very dry conditions, water regularly for the first two months and afterwards only when the tree is obviously suffering. Moringa trees will flower and produce pods whenever there is sufficient water available.

If rainfall is continuous throughout the year, Moringa trees will have a nearly continuous yield. In arid conditions, flowering can be induced through irrigation.

FERTILIZING:Moringa trees will generally grow well without adding very much fertilizer. Manure or compost can be mixed with the soil used to fill the planting pits. Phosphorus can be added to encourage root development and nitrogen will encourage leaf canopy growth. In some parts of India, 15cm-deep ring trenches are dug about 10cm from the trees during the rainy season and filled with green leaves, manure and ash. These trenches are then covered with soil.

This approach is said to promote higher pod yields. Research done in India has also showed that applications of 7.5kg farmyard manure and 0.37kg ammonium sulphate per tree can increase pod yields threefold.

Biodynamic composts yield the best results, with yield increases of of to 50% compared to ordinary composts.

HARVESTING: When harvesting pods for human consumption, harvest when the pods are still young (about 1cm in diameter) and snap easily. Older pods develop a tough exterior, but the white seeds and flesh remain edible until the ripening process begins

When producing seed for planting or for oil extraction, allow the pods to dry and turn brown on the tree. In some cases, it may be necessary to prop up a branch that holds many pods to prevent it breaking off. Harvest the pods before they split open and seeds fall to the ground. Seeds can be stored in well-ventilated sacks in dry, shady places.

VARIETIES OF DRUMSTICKS (MURINGA)

1.Rohit 1
First yield starts in 4 to 6 months after plantation & gives commercial yield upto 10 Years. (Per year two seasons).Bears are dark green in colour, 45 to 60 cm in length, pulp is soft & testy, keeping quality is very good.From a single plant one can get 40-135 drumsticks of about 3 to 10 kg.Yield and quality of drumstick is depend on climate, soil type, irrigation facility and spacing and market rates are depend quality & demand in market.

2. Coimbatore 2.
The length of stick is 25 to 35 cm. The stick is dark green in colour and tasteful. Each plant yields 250 to 375 sticks. Each stick is bulky. Each plant yields the product for 3 to 4 years. If the product is not taken from the plant earlier, the market value of the product is lost.

3.P.K.M – 1
After plantation, the plant bears flowers and you can yield the product in 8 to 9 months. You can get the production twice in a year.Each plant can yield 200 to 350 sticks each plant can yield production for 4 to 5 years.Each stick is larger in length hence the product has demand in market of big cities rather than local market cost is comparatively less.

4.P.K.M. 2
The raw stick of this variety is greenish in colour and tastes good. The length of each stick is 45 to 75cms.Each plant can yield 300 to 400 sticks. This variety is yields good product but requires more water.

Q & A.
Is rain water sufficient for the production of Drumsticks? What type of land is required for the same?

If the production of the drumsticks has to be done on rainwater, the land has to be medium or high quality. Since drumsticks need ample water for atleast first year and medium as well as high quality land can retain water for longer time. Coimbator-1 variety can give yield under such circumstances. The yield can be started during 12 to 13th month with production of 5 kg to 10 kg Drumsticks per plant. Hence yearly production of the same will be 15 to 30 quintal. Where is the market for drumsticks in India?

There is ample market for drumsticks in metro cities like Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Nasik, Surat and others. Drumsticks have demand in Rajasthan also.

FINANCIALS OF MORINGA FOR THREE YEARS PER HECTARE

Year Description Cost
1 st Seed rate : 625 g /ha   seed Cost = Rs. 1500/kg 500.00
Ploughing 750.00
  Digging of pits: 30 A type labour @ Rs.100/labour 3,000.00
  Seed sowing 15 B type labour @ Rs. 100/labour 1,500.00
  Gap filling 4 B type labour @ Rs. 100/labour 400.00
  Nipping terminal growth 20 B type labour @ Rs. 100/labour 2,000.00
  Manures and fertilizers  
  Farm Yard Manure 25 t/ha @ Rs. 1000/t 25,000.00
  Urea  @ 400 kg/ha @ Rs. 5.6/kg 2,240.00
  Single Super Phosphate @200 Kg/ha @ Rs. 4.8/kg 960.00
   Muriate of Potash @ 100 kg/ha @ Rs. 4.6/kg 464.00
  Application 5 B type labour @ Rs. 100/labour 500.00
  Irrigation 14 B type labour @ Rs. 100/labour 1,400.00
   Plant protection cost 5,000.00
  Application cost 400.00
  Weeding cost 6,000.00
   Ratooning  20 A  type labour @ Rs. 100/labour   2,000.00
  Harvesting 5 harves 20 B type labour/harvest 10,000.00
  @ Rs. 100/labour (5x20x100)    
  Total Expenditure 62,114.00
  Yield 40 tons/Hectare x Rs. 10/ Kg 4,00,000.00
  Net Profit 3,37,886.00
II ND Year
  Farm Yard Manure 25 t/ha @ Rs. 1000/t 25,000.00
  Urea  @ 400 kg/ha @ Rs. 5.6/kg 2,240.00
  Single Super Phosphate @200 Kg/ha @ Rs. 4.8/kg 960.00
  Muriate of Potash @ 100 kg/ha @ Rs. 4.6/kg 464.00
  Application 5 B type labour @ Rs. 100/labour  500.00
  Irrigation 14 B type labour @ Rs. 100/labour 1,400.00
  Plant protection cost 5,000.00
Application cost 400.00
  Weeding cost 6,000.00
  Ratooning  20 A  type labour @ Rs. 100/labour 2,000.00
  Harvesting 5 harves 20 B type labour/harvest  
  @ Rs. 100/labour (5x20x100) 10,000.00
  Total Expenditure 53,964.00
  yield 45 tons/Hectare x Rs. 10/ Kg 4,50,000.00
  Net Profit 3,96,036.00
IIIrd Year
   Farm Yard Manure 25 t/ha @ Rs. 1000/t 25,000.00
  Urea  @ 400 kg/ha @ Rs. 5.6/kg 2,240.00
  Single Super Phosphate @200 Kg/ha @ Rs. 4.8/kg 960.00
  Muriate of Potash @ 100 kg/ha @ Rs. 4.6/kg 464.00
  Application 5 B type labour @ Rs. 100/labour   500.00
  Irrigation 14 B type labour @ Rs. 100/labour 1,400.00
  Plant protection cost 5,000.00
  Application cost 400.00
  Weeding cost 6,000.00
  Ratooning  20 A  type labour @ Rs. 100/labour  2,000.00
  Harvesting 5 harves 20 B type labour/harvest 10,000.00
  @ Rs. 100/labour (5x20x100)  
  Total Expenditure 53,964.00
  Yield 30 Ton/Hectare @ Rs.10/Kg 3,00,000.00
  Net Profit 2,46,036.00
  Total Profit for 3 years 7,33,922.00

3. BANANA

Soil: Fertility of soil is very important for successful cultivation, as banana is a heavy feeder. Depth and drainage are the two most important considerations in selecting the soil for banana. The soil suitable for banana should be 0.5 1m in depth, rich, well drained, fertile, moisture retentive, containing plenty of organic matter. The range of pH should be 6.5-7.5. Alluvial and volcanic soils are the best for banana cultivation. Banana is grown in India on a variety of soils such as the heavy clay soil of the Cauvery delta, alluvial soils of the Gang etic delta, black loam in Maharashtra, coastal sandy loams and the red lateritic soil of the hilly tracts of Kerala. These areas are famous for growing good crop of banana.

Climate: Banana is tropical plant requiring a warm and humid climate. However, it can be grown from sea level to all altitudes of 1200 metres. It can be cultivated in a temperature range of 10°C and 40°C with high humidity but growth is retarded at temperatures of 20°C and less and more than 35°C. Yields are higher when temperatures are above 24°C for a considerable period. In cooler climate, the crop requires longer time to mature. Plants exposed to low temperature and humidity during active growth stage show reduced growth and yields. Hot winds blowing in high speed during the summer month's shred and desiccate the leaves. It requires on an average, 1700 mm rainfall distributed throughout the year for its satisfactory growth. Stagnation of water is injurious and may cause diseases like Panama wilt.

Weed Control: Regular weeding is important during the first four months. Spading is commonly used and normally four spading’s a year are effective in controlling weeds. Integrated weed management by including cover crops, judicious use of herbicides, intercropping and hand weeding wherever necessary will contribute in increased production.

Pre-emergence application of Diuron (1kg a.i./ha) or Glyphosate (2 kg a.i./ha) is effective in controlling grasses and broad-leaved weeds without affecting the yield and quality of banana. Double cropping of cowpea is equally effective in suppressing the weed growth.

DE suckering: During the life cycle, banana produces number of suckers from the underground stem. If all these suckers are allowed to grow, they grow at the expense of the growth of the main plant and hence the growth of the sucker should be discouraged. Removal of unwanted suckers is one of the most critical operations in banana cultivation and is known as DE suckering. Such suckers are removed either by cutting them off or the heart may be destroyed without detaching the sucker from the parent plant. Removal of suckers with a portion of corm at an interval of 5-6 weeks hastened shooting and increased the yield.

Earthing Up: In case of furrow planting earthling up should be done during rainy season to avoid water logging while during winter and summer the plant should be in the furrow.

Propping: Propping operation is carried out in areas with high wind speeds. Pseudostems are propped up with bamboo, especially, at the time of bunch emergence.

Leaf Removal: Pruning of surplus leaves helps to reduce the disease from spreading through old leaves. Leaf pruning can change light and temperature factors of microclimate. Pruning of leaves before bunch initiation delays flowering and harvesting cycle. For maximum yields a minimum of 12 leaves are to be retained.

Bunch Covering: Bagging (bunch covering) is a cultural technique used by planters where export quality bananas are grown. This practice protects bunches against cold, sun scorching, against attack of thrips and scarring beetle. It also improves certain visual qualities of the fruits. Bunch covering with dry leaves is a common practice in India.

Removal of Male Flower Bud: Removal of male bud after completion of female phase is necessary. Once the process of fruit setting is over, the inflorescence rachis should be cut beyond the last hand otherwise it grows at the cost of fruit development. This helps in early maturity of the bunch.

VARIETIES OF BANANA IN INDIA

Dwarf Cavendish (AAA): It is a popular commercial cultivar grown extensively for table and processing purpose in the states Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar and West Bengal. It is also popular in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. 'Basrai' is the leading commercial variety of Cavendish group and is a leading commercial variety of Maharashtra. The plant stature is Dwarf making it less prone to wind damage. The bunch size, the fruit length and size is quite good though the keeping quality is rather poor. The average bunch weight with 6-7 hands and with about 13 fruits per hand is about 15-25 kg. The thick rind of the fruits retains to some extent the greenish colour even when the fruits are ripe. Gandevi selection known as 'Hanuman' or 'Padarre' is gaining importance in spite of its longer crop duration. The selection yields bunch weighing 55-60 kg. Performs well under light soils with high inputs. In combination with high-density planting and drip irrigation, Dwarf Cavendish is becoming a highly successful cultivar. It is highly susceptible to Sigatoka leaf spot disease in humid tropics restricting its commercial cultivation.

Robusta (AAA): It is a semi-tall variety, grown mostly in Tamil Nadu and some parts of Karnataka for table purpose. Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. It is a high yielding and produces bunch of large size with well-developed fruits. Dark green fruits turn bright yellow upon ripening depending on ripening conditions. Fruit is very sweet with a good aroma. Bunch weighs about 25-30 kg. Requires propping. Fruit has a poor keeping quality leading to a quick breakdown of pulp after ripening, hence not suited for long distance transportation. Robusta is highly susceptible to Sigatoka leaf spot disease in humid tropics.

Rasthali (Silk AAB): It is a medium tall variety commercially grown in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Bihar. Its unique fruit quality has made Rasthali popular and a highly prized cultivar for table purpose. Fruits are yellowish green throughout their development, but turn pale yellow to golden yellow after ripening. Fruit is very tasty with a good aroma. Longer crop duration, severe susceptibility to Fusarium wilt, requirement of bunch cover to protect fruits from sun cracking and formation of hard lumps in fruits make crop production more expensive.

Poovan (Mysore AAB): It is a leading commercial cultivar grown throughout the country with location specific ecotypes like palayankodan in Kerala, Poovan in Tamil Nadu, Karpura Chakkarakeli in Andhra Pradesh and Alpan in North Eastern Region. It is generally cultivated as a perennial crop. Tamil Nadu is the leading producer of Poovan cultivar owing to its climatic and marginal soil condition. Poovan is also commercially cultivated for leaf industry throughout Tamil Nadu and in certain parts of Kerala. Fruit is slightly acidic, firm and has typical sour-sweet aroma. Fruits turn to attractive golden yellow on ripening. Medium sized bunch, closely packed fruits, good keeping quality and resistant to fruit cracking is its plus points. But it is highly susceptible to Banana Bract Mosaic Viral (BBMV) disease and Banana Streak Virus, (BSV), which cause considerable reduction in yield.

Nendran (AAB): It is a popular variety in Kerala where it is relished as a fruit as well as used for processing. Commercial cultivation of Nendran has picked up rapidly in Tamil Nadu in the recent past. Nendran is known to display considerable diversity in plant stature, pseudostem colour, presence or absence of male axis, bunch size, etc. Bunch has 5-6 hands weighing about 12-15 kg. Fruits have a distinct neck with thick green skin turning buff yellow on ripening. Fruits remain as starchy even on ripening. Nendran is highly susceptible to Banana Bract Mosaic Virus (BBMV), nematodes and borers.

Red Banana (AAA): Red banana is the most relished and highly prized variety of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Its commercial cultivation is prominent in Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts of Tamil Nadu. It is also popular in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and to some extent in Western and Central India. In Bihar and other regions, it is popular as Lal Velchi while in Karnataka as Chandra Bale. The colour of the pseudostem, petiole, midrib and fruit rind is purplish red. It is a robust plant with bunches weighing 20-30 kg under good management practices. Fruits are sweet, orange yellow coloured and with a pleasant aroma. It is highly susceptible to bunchy top, fusarium wilt and nematodes.

Ney Poovan (AB): Ney Poovan is the choicest diploid cultivar, which is under commercial mono cultivation on a large scale especially in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In Kerala It is grown in backyards and now shifting to large-scale cultivation. Ney Poovan is a slender plant bearing bunches of 15-30 kg after 12-14 months. Dark green fruits turn golden yellow with a very good keeping quality. Fruit is highly fragrant, tasty, powdery and firm. Ney Poovan is tolerant to leaf spot but susceptible to Fusarium wilt and banana bract mosaic virus.

Virupakashi (AAB): It is an elite variety in South India especially grown for table purpose in Palani and Shevroy hills of Tamil Nadu under perennial cultivation. It is a vigorous and hardy variety though not a prolific one. Fruits show a typical curvature, possess a pleasant aroma and delightful taste. Virupakshi has the characteristic flavour only when they are cultivated in higher elevation. In the mixed cultivation it is well suited as a shade plant for young coffee. It has many ecotypes like 'Sirumalai' (grown on hills), 'Vannan', 'Kali' etc. well suited for cultivation in plains. Perennial system of cultivation aggravates Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV).

Pachanadan (AAB): It is a popular variety in Tamil Nadu grown especially for its cooling effects in hot tracts in summer. The variety comes up well in marginal soils without any yield reduction. It is well suited as an intercrop in coconut/arecanut garden. The bunch weight ranges from 12-15 kg (after 11-12 months). Pachanadan could be used in the Nendran plantations for gap filling as it comes up for harvest along with Nendran. This variety is tolerant to leaf spot and Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) diseases, but susceptible to wilt disease.

Monthan (ABB): It is a widely cultivated variety for processing. Monthan is a fairly tall and robust plant bearing bunches of 18-20 kg after 12 months. Fruits are bold, stocky, knobbed and pale green in colour. The skin is usually green. The new prolific 'Monthan' type clones of economic value namely 'Kanchi Vazhai' and 'Chakkia' are recently becoming popular in Tamil Nadu. Apart from its culinary use of fruits, pseudostem core is a highly relished vegetable with many medicinal properties. Monthan is also cultivated for production of leaves in Trichy and Tanjore districts of Tamil Nadu. It has many desirable qualities like immunity to Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) diseases, salt tolerance and normal bunch mass even under marginal condition, but it is highly susceptible to Fusarium wilt disease.

Karpuravalli (ABB): It is a popular variety grown for table purpose in medium rich soils. Its commercial cultivation is spread over in Central and Southern districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In Bihar, cultivation is in patches under the name 'Kanthali'. Karpuravalli is a tall, robust plant well suited to marginal lands and soils, produced under low input conditions. It is also the sweetest among Indian bananas. Karpuravalli is occasionally seeded depending on the seasonal variability. Its ash coated golden yellow and sweet fruits have good keeping quality. Karpuravalli is highly susceptible to wilt disease, tolerant to leaf spot disease and well suited for drought, salt affected areas and for low input conditions.

Safed Velchi Musa (A B Group): This is considered a good quality fruit for table purpose and is cultivated in the Thane, Nasik districts of Maharashtra. It is grown under the shade of arecanut gardens in the South Kanara districts of Karanataka. This variety is medium sized with slender yellowish green pseudostem and can be recognised by the reddish petiole margin, large fruits, very thin and papery rind and white firm flesh that is very sweet. The average bunch weight is about 12 kg with about 150 fruits/bunch. The duration of the variety is about 13 months.

FINANCIALS OF BANANA PER HECTACRE

Varieties (Ton/hectare)
a) Dwarf Cavendish 30-40
b) Robusta 38-45
c) Other varieties 20-30