Floricultural research centre in Pune soon

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Times of India: The directorate of floricultural research is to be set up in the city soon. The union government’s directorate will take a decision about the introduction of any new variety in the country.

About 10 hectares of land, which belongs to College of Agriculture in Shivajinagar, will be utilized for setting up the directorate. The polyhouses and a testing centre will come up in Hadapsar on about 35-40 hectares of land.

This was confirmed by Tukaram More, the vice chancellor of Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, who was participating in the XXII annual group meeting of All India Coordinated Research Project on Floriculture in the city.

Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, in a public function at the College of Agriculture, had mentioned that the ministry was looking for 100 acres of (close to 45 hectares) land for setting up the floricultural directorate. “It is almost finalized that the directorate will be set up in Pune. The required land is available here and we are waiting for sanctioning of funds,” said More referring to it. He refused to divulge further details.

The directorate’s Pune office will be the main centre for the country’s floricultural activities. More than 18 states in the country have floriculture projects where loose and cut flowers are grown and marketed.

The directorate will conduct studies and research on various local and imported flowers, develop new varieties, introduce fragrance in flowers, and develop varieties with longer shelf life and having different sizes which will be fit to be grown in varied climatic conditions. The expertise will subsequently be passed on to farmers across the country.

Speaking to TOI on conditions of anonymity, a senior officer from the horticulture department said, “Minimum 100 acres of land is required for setting up the directorate, which will come up in the premises of the College of Agriculture. It is confirmed that the office building will be set there while research related infrastructure will be constructed in Hadapsar, where 65 to 70 acres of land owned by the college is available.”

The officer said that once the directorate starts functioning, indigenous varieties can be developed fast. Many polyhouse owners use imported saplings and have to pay a large share of their income as royalty to the companies abroad. The actual income of farmers is quite low.

The directorate will help in development of indigenous varieties of roses and other flowers and export them.

Umesh Srivastava, assistant director general of Indian Council of Agricultural Research, was also present at the meeting. “Floriculture projects have been set up on 1.90 lakh hectares of land in the country that produce 10.31 lakh loose flowers and 69.02 crore cut flowers. In the 2011-12 fiscal, floriculture export was worth Rs 365.32 crore and involved 300 export oriented units in the country. We mainly export to the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan and UAE,” he said.

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