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Thursday, Jun 30, 2005

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Poovan prices may take a hit

L.N. Revathy

Coimbatore , June 29

MARKET analysts foresee a price rise for the Karpooravalli and Rasthali banana varieties and a steep drop in the price of the Poovan banana in the coming months.

The Domestic and Export Market Intelligence Cell, functioning in the Centre for Agricultural and Rural Development Studies (CARDS) at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has, according to CARDS Director Dr N. Raveendran, analysed the banana price movement in the Tiruchi market.

The researchers expect the price of Karpooravalli to touch Rs 150 per bunch (175-200 fruits) in September. It is around Rs 115 per bunch at present and expected to touch Rs 140 in July.

The survey shows that prices of Karpooravalli hovered around the same levels in 2003 and 2004. It touched a high of Rs 155 at least once in previous years around August/September. Analysts expect the Karpooravalli to touch Rs 150 in September this year.

Market watchers expect the Rasthali banana to touch Rs 150 a bunch (100 fruits) around September. Currently, it is quoting marginally lower than the Rs 115 in 2004. But analysts are confident that prices would look up in August/September.

Though Rasthali touched a high of Rs 140 a bunch in July last year and is expected to fetch a lower rate during the corresponding period this year, the market watch report shows that the fruit ranged between Rs 90 and Rs 95 a bunch in September 2003 and 2004 respectively. The current season is expected to bring some cheer to Rasthali growers.

Poovan banana, on the other hand, is expected to slip from the current Rs 104 to around Rs 85 a bunch (150 fruits) in September. The price movement during the last two years shows that Poovan dropped to around Rs 70 a bunch in September 2004, while it hovered around Rs 100 in September 2003.

In Tamil Nadu, banana is cultivated in over 84,000 hectares. The annual production in 2003-04 was 35.43 lakh tonnes. Besides Tiruchi, which is a major banana-growing belt, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Karur, Erode and Kanyakumari are also important centres.

With Kerala farmers also taking to banana cultivation in a big way this year, trade sources do not foresee any big increase in prices.

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