The Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) has come out with new findings about the nutritional values of the red banana variety grown predominantly in Kamalapur area in Gulbarga district.
Sources in the Horticulture Department told The Hindu here on Wednesday that the laboratory results of the CFTRI have revealed that the red banana grown in Kamalapur contained more calcium, iron, potassium and fibre than any other variety of the bananas grown in the State.
The fruit with rich aroma contains high calories (110) and Vitamin C and B6 which are essential for the overall health in human beings.
The sources said that the department has taken up with the government the issue of supply of red banana with midday meals to schoolchildren to improve their nutritional levels. This will help the government effectively fight the high incidence of malnutrition among children in certain parts of the State.
The sources said that the Women and Child Welfare Department should consider supplying red banana to pregnant women and lactating mothers to improve their overall health. Also, the fruit can be supplied to hospitals for women suffering from low haemoglobin level.
Meanwhile, the Horticulture Department has sent samples of red banana to the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants at Lucknow for laboratory tests to know whether the fruit contains any medicinal value.
The popular belief in the region is that red banana is of medicinal value and no effort had been made to study this aspect.
Although banana is grown in almost all taluks in the district, the red banana variety is grown only in Kamalapur locality. At present, the cultivation of red banana is limited to 50 acres of farmland and the department is striving to increase the area which is reducing every year due to various reasons, including the vagaries of weather.
The department is encouraging farmers to take up the cultivation of red banana by providing them incentives and highly subsidised certified seeds.
The department, which has been successful in getting GI tag for red banana, is now in the process of getting trademark to increase its marketing value as an incentive for farmers to take up cultivation in more areas.