KOCHI: Considering the practical difficulties in exporting bananas to foreign countries through the air because of the Covid-19 protocol, the Kerala Government has entrusted the Vegetable and Fruits Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK) to develop a protocol to facilitate the shipping of the same to European countries. The programme will be implemented with the help of Rs 35 lakh under the Remunerative Approach for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation programme of the Centre.
The project which was initiated in June 2020 is now completed and the first consignment of Nendran bananas will be sent to the London Gate Way Port from the Cochin Port on March 5. The consignment, once reached the destination, will be ripened there and made available in the U K region and Scotland through retail outlets.
It was with the technical assistance of the National Research Centre for Banana, Trichy, that the selected farmers from the Thrissur district were given training. The harvested Nendran banans will be undergone packhouse treatment and plant quarantine testing at the Centrified Pack House at Muvattupuzha where they will be flagged off and transported to the Cochin Port on March 5 for getting the Port clearance.
The VFPCK officials said as part of the project, a top-quality QR Coding system, straceability mechanism to ensure transparency and efficient and scientific packing system is also a part of the project. “These measures will increase the trustworthiness of the product. The technical assistance for quality management was provided by Bangalore-based Agri startup -Trace X,” according to a VFPCK officer.
He said the Nendran bananas were harvested when it becomes 80 per cent ripe. They will be separated carefully from the bunch at the farm itself. It will then reach the treatment facility where precooling and other cleaning activities are carried out. after removing the wetness from the banana, it will be arranged in carton boxes.
2k tonnes Nendran can be sent by sea per year
Once the experiment is successful, it is expected that more Nendran bananas are expected to be shipped through the sea. As per the official estimation, 2,000 tonnes of Nendran banana can be exported via sea annually to foreign countries.