Centre to take steps to step up Banana exports: Minister

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Tiruchirapalli, Oct 27 (UNI) The Centre will take steps to step up Banana exports, Union Minister of State for Commerce Jayaram Ramesh today said.

Delivering the valedictory address at the four-day National Conference on Banana, jointly organised by the National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB), Banana Growers Federation(BGF) and Association for the Improvement in Production and Utilisation of Banana (AIPUB), here he said the absence of bananas in global market was causing concern to the nation as India was the largest producer with 17 million tonnes per annum.

Mr Jayaram said infrastructure facilities would be provided for the marketing of banana in the West Asia, China, Japan and East European countries. Export promotion activities would increase foreign exchange earnings and generate employment opportunities in this sector in India, he said.

The minister said the state governments should set their shortcomings right by making use of Centre's technology mission and National Horticulture mission floated in 2006 for Rs 2600 crore.

Talking to newspersons here, Mr Jayaram said the Ministry was in the process of establishing a park for bananas, similar to the establishment of parks in other states for various products.

While talking of other crops, Mr Jayaram said India, as the largest supplier of table grapes, had so far exported it for Rs 300 crore and after Japan had lifted the ban on import of mangoes from India, he looked for more optimistic things to happen.

He said he would ensure the long-pending installation of a cold storage system at the International Airport here by taking up the matter with the Civil Aviation Ministry.

The Minister said he would impose a ban or control on exports, if domestic prices were affected.

Mr Jayaram declined to answer whether the lifting of ban on exports of non-basmati rice varieties would affect the domestic prices. He also refrained from reacting to the enhancement in cement prices across the country.

UNI

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