Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 18 : Banana farmers in Kerala, for the first time, have come together to form an association in an effort aimed at resolving issues they have been suffering for long.
Veterans as well as current farmers in the banana farming sector in the state have given shape to form the Banana Farmers Association (BFA), a release said here on Thursday. The BFA paved way after the Thiruvananthapuram-based Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA) successfully organized the first ever National Banana Festival in Kerala last year.
After the conduct of National Banana Festival, the need for such an association was thought about. CISSA had been continuing with its efforts across panchayats, and inspiring banana farmers to come together to form a common platform so that their voices could be heard.
According to CISSA General Secretary Dr C Suresh Kumar, banana cultivation is almost a household practice in Kerala. A large number of farmers with many decades of experience in banana farming had turned up for the debut meeting.
“If banana farming survives the test of time in the state, it is chiefly attributed to the notably large number of smallholder farmers. Though the farmers of many plantations crops have their own associations, the banana farmers have not yet had an organization of their own, political patronage or benevolence of god fathers," Dr Kumar said.
“Even as the state continue lamenting of a declining number of its farmers, the number of farmers who are into banana farming in the State seems otherwise”, he added.
CISSA's intervention was mainly aimed at plugging this gap between mainstream cultivations and banana farming. The principal objective behind such a move was to offer the much needed support to hitherto unorganized and neglected banana sector. During the last few months, a number of meetings were organized under CISSA’s initiation to openly communicate with banana farmers at the panchayat-level, which eventually led to the constitution of the BFA.
Following the formation of the BFA, there was a passionate call by its inaugural office bearers to stand hand in hand for bringing back the deserving place for banana in the agro economy of Kerala.
According to BFA President Sreekumar, Kerala, which has the largest banana diversity, mainly consumes the raw banana fruits. “Manifold benefits contained in the banana tree are yet to be popularized in the state.
Recently, there were newspaper reports on the health benefits of consuming Vazhakoombu (the bud of banana flower) that underlines the medical significance of the plant,” he added.(UNI)