Whilst the export of fresh fruits increased from 3 lakh metric tons in 2017-2018 to 5.07 lakh metric tons between 2020 and 2021, banana exports increased from 1.01 lakh metric tons in 2018 to 1.95 lakh metric last year, according to a report released by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
India’s closest neighbour Nepal and Iraq combined consumed over 50 percent of the bananas that were exported from India, followed closely by China and Philippines, the two biggest competitors vying for a share in the international export market. Since the pandemic caused unprecedented local demands in China and Philippines, they were forced to meet the growing demands and cut down on the exports. This invariably created a big gap in the market.
According to most industry experts, the banana varieties, mostly cultivated in the different regions of Pollachi in Tamilnadu, are in good demand in the global export market. If the Tamilnadu government steps forward to resolve the choking logistic issues, there is still room for the state to witness a substantial growth in exports. There is an appreciable increase in the export of bananas in Tamilnadu. Over the next year or so, export number from Tamilnadu is expected to grow by 450-500 metric tons. This said the area that is under cultivation has steadily been shrinking in several regions of Tamilnadu due to the lack of local support and patronage in terms of market price.
Some of the measures that help reduce post-harvest losses in bananas and increase income opportunities include development of innovative technologies to enhance the shelf-life of bananas through post-harvest management, cold storage and pre-treatments. These initiatives can bring down post-harvest losses and foster the export of bananas to long-distance countries through sea transportation. The cost of transportation has hindered global exports and farmers have been heavily affected by the growing fuel prices too. With the right measures in place, Tamilnadu could increase its export prospects and lead from the front, given the fact that there has been 93 percent spike in exports between 2020 and 2021.