Importance and Uses
Banana is the fourth important food crop in
terms of economic importance. It comes next only to rice, wheat and milk.
And India forms the largest producer of banana in the world. The cultivation
is distributed through out the country and thus generates employment for
many. Apart from desert purpose, a number of value added products are
prepared from banana. And many of these products serve as raw materials in
confectionary, tanning, beverage, pharmaceutical and animal feed industry.
Banana is a rich source of energy. A banana
fruit weighing 100 grams will contain around 350 Kilo Joules of energy. The
major source of energy in banana is carbohydrate. Apart from carbohydrate,
banana fruit is rich in phosphorous, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.
Traces of Zinc, copper, chlorine, cobalt and iodine are also contained in
Most of the vitamins namely Vitamin A, Vitamin C and riboflavin are present in fair quantity in banana. Thus from nutritive point of view, banana can be considered as the cheapest, plentiful and most nourishing of all fruits.
Banana fruit have great therapeutic value.
Ripe banana is easily digestible and has vitamins and minerals. Therefore,
it can even be used as food for three-month-old babies. Elderly people can
consume in large quantities without any digestive problems. The low sodium,
little fat and no cholesterol make banana a suitable food for people with
high blood pressure and heart disease.
Banana is ideal for patients with gout or arthritis as it is free from substances that give rise to uric acid. Banana is included in the special diets of kidney disease sufferers because of law sodium and protein content in the fruit. Banana is also used in ulcer therapy due to its capacity to neutralize free hydrochloric acid. Abnormally fat people may also use banana in their diet due to lipid content of the fruit. Thus banana have great medical significance.
There are a number of uses for banana that are
known for its specialty. Banana from time immemorial is used in various
religious offerings. Fruits like Kadali are used for preparation of
‘Panchamritham’ and ‘Rasayanam’. The plant is also grown as an ornamental
crop in gardens.
The sheath of the plant is used in the preparation of fiber that is used in agriculture. The rachis is used for tanning of fishing nets. Leaves are also used wrapping materials for perishables. A number of handicrafts like bags, baskets, etc. are prepared from dried midribs. And the dried plant part after burning is used as manure.
1. Bose, T.K., Mithra, S.K., Sanyal, D. (1996)
Fruits: Tropical and Sub-Tropical, Naya Udyog Publications, Calcutta.
2. Rao, V.N.M.(1998) Banana, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi.