The Newz Radar
Himachal Pradesh is set to establish the country’s first clean plant centre, which will produce virus-free apple and other fruit plants. Once established, orchardists will not have to import expensive plants from countries like America and Italy.
However, it is not yet decided where the centre will be established. After its establishment, the orchardists will get high-quality virus-free plants at one-fourth of the rates of the imported plants. There will also be no need to quarantine the plants. The state will collaborate with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) under the Central Government’s Clean Plant Programme to set up the centre. Ten such centres are to be set up across the country at a cost of around Rs 2,000 crore.
The initiative will also benefit orchardists from Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand, who will have access to affordable saplings.
To get the necessary information for setting up the centre, a 12-member team, including Himachal Horticulture Minister Jagat Singh Negi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary Mohan Lal Brakta and Horticulture Director Sandeep Kadam, left for Australia on Saturday. Representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, National Horticulture Board and ADB were also part of the delegation.
During the visit, the team will visit Melbourne and Sydney’s Horticulture University and Research Centers. Chief Parliamentary Secretary Brakta emphasised the importance of this visit, stating that it would play a crucial role in the vision document being prepared for horticulture. Minister Negi also expressed optimism, stating that the team included individuals responsible for approving the project, providing the budget, establishing and operating the centre.