As a follow-up to the National Banana Festival hosted last year by the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (Cissa), Banana farmers in Kerala have formed a Banana Farmers Association called Cissa.
C. Suresh Kumar, General Secretary of Cissa, said that banana cultivation is a household vocation in Kerala. A large number of farmers with many decades of experience in farming techniques had turned up for the festival last year. “If banana farming has survived the ravages of time in the State, the credit should go mostly to the notably large number of smallholder farmers. But they have not yet had an organisation of their own to make themselves heard.”
Cissa’s endeavour has been to plug this gap between these farmers and the mainstream. Sreekumar, an agriculture scientist-turned-farmer, has been elected the first president of the association.
“Currently, farmers from the vicinity of the capital district are members. We are looking to reach out to the rest of the State, which incidentally offers the most diverse banana crop, and bring more farmers under the association’s fold,” Sreekumar said.
Cissa is committed to support entrepreneurs who come forward to explore the huge scope of value addition across the fruit, fibre, pseudo stem, leaves and inflorescence. Cissa has also set up its a Banana Resource Centre as a pilot endeavour at Kalliyoor panchayat in rural Thiruvananthapuram. It would seek to provide scientific training to farmers.