GUWAHATI, Oct 28 – People should find an effective alternative to banana plants as lamp posts during the Diwali, or else, it will continue to incur loss of crores of rupees every year. This is the observation made by Dr NK Mohan, a former Chief Scientist of the Assam Agricultural Univer-sity’s (AAU’s) Kahikuchi-based Horticultural Research Station.
Mohan said that in a rough estimate, it has become evident that banana plants worth at least Rs 1.8 crore are wasted annually by the State during the festival of light. This loss will multiply every year with the rise in population and also in the price of banana. This could be prevented by going for separate cultivation of banana, or, some other lamp posts may also be developed for the purpose.
In this respect, he referred to the example of Tamil Nadu where separate banana cultivation is done for using banana leaves as plates. Moreover, the State may also revert to the old custom of recycling the used banana plants, he said.
He explained that if two banana plants are used on an average by each of the five per cent of the 24 lakh families of the State (having the population of around 3 crore 10 lakh), during the festival, the number of plants will stand at 2,40,000. The average yield of each of these plants is around 15 kgs. Thus the total loss in terms of fruit stands at 36,000 metric tonnes (MTs).
If the price of per kg of banana is assumed to be Rs 5, then the total amount to be earned by the farmers against each MT of banana stands at Rs 5,000 and thus the total loss incurred by the State every Diwali comes out to be Rs 1.8 crore, explained Mohan.
Banana fruit is considered as a whole food. For an adult person, 2.5 kg of banana fruit is enough as a daily food. Calculations show that we are losing 14,40,000 days’ full meals in a single day. This has been worked out by dividing 36,00,000 kgs by 2.5kg, Mohan said. Moreover, losing 24, 0000 matured banana plants in a single day certainly affects the environment too, he maintained.