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63-year-old earns Rs 1 lakh/month with 500 free banana varieties.

63-year-old earns Rs 1 lakh/month with 500 free banana varieties.

Thiruvananthapuram’s Vinod Sahadevan Nair, also known as ‘Banana Man’, shut down his web designing firm in Kochi to return home and build a unique farm.

Did you know that there are over 1,000 different varieties of bananas worldwide? While only 10 to 15 types of bananas are grown commercially in India, a farmer in Kerala has cultivated an impressive collection of 500 varieties!

Fondly called the ‘Banana Man’, Vinod Sahadevan Nair (63) from Parassala, Thiruvananthapuram, was not a farmer when he started his career.

After completing his BSc in Physics, Vinod worked for a while and later started a web designing firm in Kochi. It was after his mother’s death that he decided to come back home and become a farmer to expand his family farms.

Vinod wanted to create a unique farm and started collecting varieties of bananas, not commonly seen in Kerala.

He travelled to different states — such as Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharastra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Odisha, Assam and Manipur — to source uncommon varieties of plantains. He even approached various horticulture departments, research institutes and universities to get hold of as many varieties as he could.

“Every kind of banana has a certain cultural element attached to it as well. For example, ‘Manoranjitham’, a variety of Kanyakumari emanates a beautiful fragrance. So in the olden days, people would hang them in their homes during auspicious occasions, marriages and festivals,” Vinod explains.

Presently, his farms have 500 varieties of bananas — including international varieties like the lady’s finger banana, red banana and blue java. He journeyed to countries like Malaysia, Africa, Australia, Hawaii, and Honduras, returning with numerous rare coastal climate plantains.

Vinod sells his produce at the wholesale market and earns up to Rs 1 lakh per month. To spread awareness about different varieties of bananas, he has started a Facebook group where he offers these varieties free of charge.

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