Banana (Musa sp.) is the second most important fruit crop in India next to mango. Its year round availability, affordability, varietal range, taste, nutritive and medicinal value makes it the favourite fruit among all classes of people. It has also good export potential. Banana evolved in the humid tropical regions of S.E.Asia with India as one of its centres of origin. Modern edible varieties have evolved from the two species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana and their natural hybrids, originally found in the rain forests of S.E.Asia. During the seventh century AD its cultivation spread to Egypt and Africa. At present banana is being cultivated throughout the warm tropical regions of the world between 300 N and 300 S of the equator.
Processed products, such as chips, banana puree, jam, jelly, juice, wine and halwa can be made from the fruit. The tender stem, which bears the inflorescence is extracted by removing the leaf sheaths of the harvested pseudostem and used as vegetable. Plantains or cooking bananas are rich in starch and have a chemical composition similar to that of potato.