At the crack of dawn every Monday and Thursday during summer, banana growers and traders from Garo Hills of Meghalaya and nearby of lower Assam’s Goalpara district rush to Daranggiri Banana Market —the largest banana market of North East. Banana traders from Bihar, West Bengal, Nepal, Odisha, Jharkhad, Uttar Pradesh wait for them to procure truck loads of bananas from them at this market located at Daranggiri in Goalpara district.
During peak season close to Dipawali and Chhat puja festival about 140 to 150 trucks of bananas are sold every week at this market run by Daranggiri Anchalik Unnayan Samiti. “About 80 per cent of banana supplied to the market is grown in Garo hills of Meghalaya and the rest 20 per cent in Goalpara district. The market was registered in 1976 but it has been running since the days Daranggiri was connected with motorable road,” says samiti secretary Ranjit Rabha.
The six-wheel trucks have now been replaced by 12-wheeled and 18-wheeled trucks. Each truck leave the market with about 1200 to 1600 bunches of banana. The price varies from Rs 100 to Rs 250 for every bunch of banana during the peak season. The Samiti collects Rs two per bunch and pays annual license fee of Rs 1.10 lakh to Goalpara Zila Parishad. The market has an area of 8 bigha (7.5 bigha = 1 hectare)
Every Monday 'Malbhog' (Musa paradisiacal) variety is sold and on Thursdays Chenichapma and Kaskol varieites are sold. The market, however, has a lean period during winter months.
(Anu Boro is an independent photojournalist based in Guwahati and travels to different parts of the North East region as part of her professional work.)