IDUKKI: Going high-tech, Kattappana Service Cooperative Bank has set up the district's first tissue culture laboratory and are on a mission to supply 1 lakh saplings to the farmers this year, mainly of Nendran, Granini, Poovan and Njalipoovan variety of banana at Kattappana. Tissue culture of plantains is a biotechnological initiative to increase the yield of traditional farming by five times with strong and more disease resistant outcomes.
According to Kattappana Service Cooperative Bank president Joy Vettikkuzhy, the lab will address the constraint of disease and the resulting poor plant health and yield loss faced by the farmers in the region. "Not only will this positively impact the incomes of thousands of farming households, it will also be a boost for fruit and vegetable exports," he said.
"With the help of modern technology, millions of saplings could be developed with a single tissue. These plantain saplings will ripe in nine to 10 months and the farmer can harvest the produce within a small time."The bank has established the lab with the assistance of the Agriculture and Cooperative Departments at an estimated cost of `20 lakh with imported equipment from Bengaluru.Sathyan, retired deputy director of the Kollam district agricultural farm, who monitors the lab said, the crops developed by this method are not seasonal and can be produced in the laboratory throughout the year.