India: AI and High-Tech to Increase Banana Exports


A small working group would be formed to promote the export of Indian bananas, mainly traditional varieties and value-added fruit products, said M. Angamuthu, Chairman of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). 

India was the largest producer of bananas in the world, yet it had a negligible share in the global banana trade and exported the fruit to just about 15 countries. Banana export could be increased by reaching out to the United States and European countries. "APEDA will promote the export of traditional banana varieties and Gi-tagged bananas to more countries. It will also promote exports of banana-based value-added products. A working group, including stakeholders, will be formed to promote the export of bananas," Mr Angamuthu said. 

He was speaking at the inauguration of a two-day consultative workshop on 'Export of GI and traditional bananas: Present scenario, trade opportunities and the way forward,' organized by the ICAR National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB) in association with APEDA. 

Mr Angamuthu saw that traditional varieties were the country's inherent strength, and stakeholders should strive to market them to the world by ensuring better quality and packaging. 

He called upon scientists to find technological gaps, supply chain management, and other areas and initiate appropriate remedial measures. 

Addressing the delegates virtually, V.B. Patel, Assistant Director General, Horticultural Science-II, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), said that so far, Geographical Indication (GI) tags had been obtained for seven traditional banana varieties in the country and underlined the scope for increasing conventional banana export varieties. 

Underlining the importance of improving the yield and quality of traditional banana varieties, V. Geethalakshmi, Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, said precision farming techniques would help conserve water and target the application of nutrients. 

He added that the university would work with farmers' producers' organizations to identify the requirements and promote export-oriented agriculture. 

Rajalakshmi Devaraj, Additional Director General of Foreign Trade, Chennai, called upon farmers to take advantage of the district export hub program, which would be implemented in 11 districts in Tamil Nadu, including Tiruchi.  

R.Selvarajan, Director, NRCB, said the centre's scientists had initiated inter-disciplinary action to include cutting-edge production technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, IoT and precision farming in banana cultivation.