The demand for Bihar’s ‘Kothia’ bananas, which derives its name from the Kothia village in Samastipur district, is increasing.
The speciality of this variety of banana is that it can grow without any special care (including less or no water, without manure and fertilisers, a bunch of bananas weighing 20-25 kg can be produced).
Scientists believe that if this banana variety is cultivated in a scientific way, then 40-45 kg can be produced which can have 200-250 fingers of the fruit.
Scientists at the Banana Research Centre Gauraul have taken a first step in this direction.
Under All India Coordinated Research Project on Fruits, this variety of banana has a good produce at low cost in various states. And, now this variety is being cultivated in all the banana-producing states.
Kothia banana is like the ‘Bluggo’ group of bananas which can be used for both (as a vegetable when raw and as fruit when ripe).
This variety can be cultivated in soil having low fertility.
All India Coordinated Research Project on Fruits principal investigator and Rajendra Prasad Central Agriculture University Pusa Co Director S.K. Singh told IANS that most of the bananas cultivated on roadside in North Bihar are of the Kothia variety.
People say that vegetables made of raw Kothia banana cures most of the digestion related problems. It also helps in the treatment of stomach-related problems and fatty liver diseases.
Singh believes that farmers are cultivating this banana variety since it requires less care, water, manure and fertiliser.
As per a report published here, this is the reason ‘Chinia’ variety of banana is being replaced by Kothia.
If farmers cultivating bananas are to be believed, demand for Kothia has seen 80 per cent increase. This is also another reason that the farmers are turning to Kothia banana cultivation.
By taking out fibre from Kothia tree’s virtual stem, various types of ropes, mats and bags are being made.
Singh said that till now, the Kothia variety of banana is not being cultivated using scientific methods.
To promote scientific cultivation of this variety, its tissue culture is being used to prepare saplings at the Banana Research Centre, Gauraul.
He expressed hope that very soon saplings produced by using tissue culture would be provided to the farmers which will earn them good profit.