Banana plantation in Chitwan under threat


CHITWAN, Jan 16: Chitwan district is known in the country for its extensive banana plantations. But concerns have been expressed over these plantations becoming displaced due to the expanding land fragmentation for housing plots.

The Chitwan District Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been promoting banana farming under the ‘one village one product’ theme. According to the District Agricultural Development Office, banana farming is done on 1,625 hectares of land in the district. The annual production is 21,600 metric tonnes. Currently, the per hectare production of banana stands at 14.89 metric tonnes.

It is stated that 610 farmers are into banana cultivation and 80 percent of them have taken land on lease for banana farming, president of the Banana Farmers Association, Bishnuhari Panta said.

The banana farmers have been taking land on lease in the range of Rs 60 thousand to Rs 80 thousand per annum.

However, of late the landowners have started selling their land instead of giving it on rent to the banana farmers after a surge in the land price in Chitwan. One kaththa land plot sells at Rs 4 million.

With the increase in the price of land, the landowners have been terminating their contract of leasing out the land to the banana farmers midway by providing some compensation and turning the land into housing plots.

A case in point is the Padampur area in east Chitwan which is considered a ‘pocket area’ of banana farming. The banana plantation in this area is being destroyed and the land being turned into housing plots. The same is the trend in Mangalpur. According to Panta, more than 70 bigaha banana plantation has been destroyed to develop housing plots.

Farmers have been complaining that these days it is very difficult to get land on lease for banana cultivation.

“If the present trend of land fragmentation in Chitwan, which produces banana worth one billion rupees annually is not checked in time, there is every likelihood that banana farming would be under grave threat,” Panta expressed his worry.

Forty percent of banana grown in Chitwan is exported to Kathmandu, Pokhara, Dang, Tulasipur, Butwal and Gorkha, among other places. Banana is extensively cultivated in Padampur, Ratnanagar, Pithuwa, Jutpani, Jagatpur, Thimure and Chainpur areas of the district.RSS