The banana ripening centre set up by the Primary Agricultural Co-operative Credit Society at Varadarajapuram near Thottiyam has started attracting a large number of banana growers this season, thanks to high yield and growing awareness.
The centre, which has been functioning since June 2013, received relatively poor patronage during the banana season between January and May in 2014, and it did not bring much revenue last year, “However, during the current season since January this year, the centre has started earning revenue enabling us to foot the maintenance bill, including power bill,” said P.Sankar, president of the society. The average quantity of goods stored at the warehouse now stands at three tonnes against the storage capacity of 10 tonnes.
The society collects Rs.1,200 a tonne for storing banana for ripening for two days. The centre had netted a revenue of around Rs. 54,000 a month this season.
Through the ripening process at the centre, the shelf life of the fruit is enhanced and the nutritional content of the fruit also remains intact. S.Saravanan, secretary of the society, said the society has been organising sustained awareness campaign among banana cultivators about the advantages of the centre. About 3,000 acres of land had been brought under banana in and around Varadarajapuram by 1,500 members of the society.
The uniform ripening process is achieved at the chamber as it maintains a steady temperature of 18-21 degree Celsius. Cold storage facility available at the centre allows banana to be stored for a maximum of 20 days at a steady temperature of 13 degree Celsius.
The ripening centre was constructed at an estimate of Rs.32.14 lakh of which Rs. 28 lakh was contributed by the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development and the rest, Rs.4.14 lakh, by the Tiruchi District Central Cooperative Bank.
Although it was declared open in June 2013, the ripening process commenced six months later in January 2014 when the crop was harvested.

Source: The Hindu