There is a need to conserve available genetic diversity of bananas varieties which are facing threat due to urbanisation and erosion of wild bananas in their natural habitat, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said today.
Musa wild species and its allied species form an important source for resistant genes for biotic and abiotic stresses, he said in his address at the National Banana Festival held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
"Biotic and abiotic stresses are the main constraints, which reduces the productivity considerably. Production constraints also vary from region to region, however, many problems are similar in nature," he said.
This complexity of problems calls for basic, strategic, and adaptive research to maximize the productivity, he said.
He added that new initiatives are being taken to give a fillip to the areas like genetic engineering, molecular breeding, organic farming, integrated pest and disease management, physiological, bio-chemical and genetic basis for biotic and abiotic stress management, adoption of post-harvest technology, use of ripening chamber and value addition from waste to wealth.
Production and productivity of bananas as considerably increased with expansion of area due to interventions under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture, which promotes adoption of High Density Planting, use of Tissue Culture Plants and other interventions in Post-Harvest Management (PHM) infrastructure, he said.
So far, 11,809 pack houses and 34.92 lakh MT of cold storage capacity have been created in the last three and half years, he added.
He also said that the growing awareness of banana for its nutrition high economic returns, and export potential, area under banana cultivation has increased.
In three and half years, Banana Producing Farmers have benefitted from Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) scheme initiated by the Modi Government, he added.
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