Second coming for Nanjangud Rasabaale

The cultivation of Nanjangud Rasabaale took a beating with the onslaught fusarium wilt, a fungal disease, and the extent of cultivation shrunk to a few hundred acres from thousands of acres.

Gradually, it was replaced by a better disease-resistant Elakki Baale.

The Tissue Culture Lab at the UAS evinced interest in reinventing the Rasabaale variety. Prof Dr B N Satyanarayana took the initiative and the State government sanctioned Rs one crore for the project in 2007.

The saplings are grown in MS medium (Murashige and Skoog medium, a plant growth medium used in the laboratories for cultivation of plant cell culture).

The saplings (a portion removed from the stem of a banana plant) are planted in specially designed glass containers and supplied necessary nutrients — nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, etc.

After a few days, they will be transplanted to another container. “The sapling are growing healthily and about 50,000 of them will be ready by August,” Dr Satyanarayana told Deccan Herald.

The saplings will be distributed among farmers in Nanjangud at only Rs 20 per sapling. Since the saplings lose their nature in other climates, they are not being sold to farmers in other parts of the State.

The price could be reduced further if the government provides subsidy.

About one lakh saplings could be developed from a single stem of a banana plant but the number has been restricted to only 800 to maintain quality and immunity, Dr Satyanarayana said.

Ajit Vaman, a research scholar, said the Rasabaale variety became more prone to diseases due to continuous cultivation. He said the pest menace could be controlled if the crop is grown with a gap of every two years.

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