Introduction | Climatic Requirement | Soil Requirement | Varieties | Cropping System
Field Preparation and Sowing | Nutrient Management | Water and Irrigation | Weed Management
Disease Management | Harvesting | Post Harvesting | Miscellaneous

Scientific Name : Musa spp.
Family : Musaceae
Centre of Origin : The mountainous region of Assam, Burma, Thailand or Indo-China

Banana is one of the oldest tropical fruits cultivated by man from prehistoric time in India with great socio-economic significance, interwoven in the cultural heritage of the country. It is also fourth important food crop in terms of gross value after paddy, wheat and milk products and forms an important crop for subsistence farmers. It is also desert fruit for millions apart from a staple food owing to its rich and easily digestible carbohydrates with a calorific value of 67 to 137/100 gm fruit. It is the most important fruits of India.

Bananas and plantains have apparent ambiguity of using the words. Usually banana is used as desert fruit. Plantains are generally much starchier and generally used for culinary purpose. Plantain and cooking bananas are staple food of people of many countries of Central and West Africa, the Carribean Islands and Latin America.

In Sikkim it is fourth most important fruit and cultivated (hill banana) throughout the state in the kitchen garden, boundaries of field and farms etc. since 1976 onwards the cultivation of banana in orchard was started with introduction of high yielding variety such as Dwarf Cavendish from Bihar, Bengal and other states of India. The important banana growing states of India are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Assam, UP, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat etc. It is a rich source of Vitamin C and minerals, and makes healthy and salt-free diet. In India, banana contributes 31.72% of the total fruit production. India is the largest producer of banana in the world.

Origin and History:
The edible banana is indigenous to Asia, probably originated some where in the mountainous region of Assam, Burma, Thailand or Indo-China. From there it has spread to tropical parts of America, Africa, Australia, Philippines and Hawaii.

Banana is a monocotyledonous, herbaceous plant. The true stem remains under ground which is known as ‘rhizome’. Botanically rhizome is a modified stem. There are buds or eyes on the middle and upper parts of the rhizomes. The portion above the ground made up of leaf sheaths known as ‘pseudostem’. This is slightly swollen at the base. The top of the sheath is contracted into the petiole. The lamina is an extension of the margin of the mid –rib. At the emergence from the pseudostem, the lamina appears as a tightly rolled cylinder which later unfolds from the top towards the base. About 40 leaves are formed till flowering. In the last, a bract like leaf is formed which protects the bunch. It is short-lived.

The inflorescence of banana initiates from heart of the pseudostem. The peduncle is often glabrous and pubescent varies with varieties. Female flowers are larger, with well developed ovary with a long style and reduced stamens. Male flowers have well developed anthers, abortive ovary with slender style and stigma. Pollens in edible bananas are rare. Male flowers abscise at the base of ovary and are shed in a day after exposure. The bracts are usually reddish purple or violet in colour. The fruit is seedless developed without pollination. Auxin stimulation is believed to take part in the development of banana fruit (vegetative parthenocarpy).

  • Immature fruits are used as vegetable. The end of the inflorescence, technically known as ‘pendant’ is cooked as a vegetable in Bengal. It is sliced in to very small pieces, and then after adding chilly & other spices with coconut oil, it is very good for the purification of urinary bladder and the removal of the urinary block.
  • Ripe fruits are delicious and are used for table purpose.
  • The core of the stem is used as curry (dish) after removing the fibrous part. It is considered to be good for stomach troubles.
  • Banana leaves, in our place, banana leaves are being used for variety purposes. The first and fore most use of these leaves is as plates for serving food on all special occasions. This is the traditional way of serving food, and we started using these as disposable ones, much long before the modern culture of disposables. In connection with this, the leaves are in high demand in vegetable markets. This also very nice food for live stocks in our houses.
  • Banana leaves are also used for packing food, especially for the packing of rice. For this purpose we have to cut the required size of the leaf, and it is then warmed over a flame to make it soft. After that, the food is put in the middle and packed nicely. The pieces of banana leaves are also used to bake a variety of food items in steam.
  • Many products are made from banana viz. banana fig, banana chips, soft drinks, flour, jam etc.
  • The starch is recovered from the pseudostem by cutting them and macerating then in water separating the starch by centrifusing. About 750 to 1000 kg starch can be obtained from the pseudostem of banana from one hectare. The residual fibre can be converted in to pulp that can be used for paper making. From one ha of banana plantation 2.5 tonnes (approximately) of fibre can be obtained. The species Musa textilis yields lots of fibre from pseudostem.
  • Plantain tree itself is a mine of medicinal properties. Each part of this such as the leaves, inflorescence and the core of the stem enriched with medicinal powers. In our country, we use the leaves of plantain tree for serving food, as plates, especially the rice on special occasions. And we have a concept that, if we take the food from the leaves, it will boost our appetite and taste. Moreover, it is good for our eye sight and enhances the beauty.
  • The juice of the stem core ideal medicine for diabetes, very good for dissolving the stones in the Kidneys and urinary bladder and for reducing the weight (one glass of the juice should be taken early morning before taking the break- fast for six months continuously).
  •  In addition to these, we traditionally use banana as a balanced and supplementary diet for babies of 4 to 10 months. The fully matured banana is chosen for this preparation. After peeling the banana,( Nendran & Kunnan) it is cut into thin, very fine pieces and dried under the sun, then ground well into fine powder. This powder is thickened by boiling with milk and one pinch of sugar, and fed to the babies. This is a wonderful nutritious diet for easy digestion, and prevents diahorrea and worm trouble in babies.
  • Generally, the entire banana is good for the purification of Blood, good digestion and for developing immunity.

Introduction | Climatic Requirement | Soil Requirement | Varieties | Cropping System
Field Preparation and Sowing | Nutrient Management | Water and Irrigation | Weed Management
Disease Management | Harvesting | Post Harvesting | Miscellaneous