Last Friday, state Agriculture Minister Dada Bhuse said that the government was planning to give banana the 'fruit' status, in order for farmers to the desired subsidy from the state government through the various schemes.
Bhuse said that many farmers were pressing the status of banana to be changed. "The district guardian minister of Jalgaon, Gulabrao Patil, during the meeting, has demanded that the government should take steps to help the banana-growers as they were suffering immensely from the lack of decision. They were not getting the subsidy given by the state government through the various schemes and hence the demand has been made," he said.
Since 1985, the farmers have been demanding yet the governments have failed to take a step towards it. The farmers are not only losing the government subsidy when growing bananas, but also any transport compensations. "The government also gives subsidy in exporting of the bananas by air and by ship, but the banana-growers do not get even that as the bananas are not included in the category of fruits. As a result, the farmers have to bear the plantation cost, the transportation cost and still provide the fruit at a competitive price to stand in the market," said Dnyandev Mahajan, president of 'Mahabanana', the Jalgaon-based state-level association of banana growers.
Mahajan also pointed out that the government has the scheme of taking up plantations of fruits through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in which not only the government offers a huge subsidy but at the same time the government also has a provision of providing labour payment for the ones who are working on the scheme.