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Centre of excellence of vegetables and floriculture in Wayanad from April

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Workers installing a mist unit in a Dutch ployhouse at the centre of excellence of vegetables and floriculture at Amabalavayal in Wayanad district

A centre of excellence for vegetables and floriculture is coming up at Ambalavayal in Wayanad for the promotion of olericulture and floriculture in the State.

The centre is being established by the State Horticulture Mission (SHM) in association with the Regional Agriculture Research Station (RARS) and Agriculture department as a demonstration-cum-training centre. It will be commissioned as part of the National Action Plan of Indo-Dutch Cooperation Project in April, K. Ajith Kumar, Associate Director, RARS, Ambalavayal, told The Hindu.

The centre, a first such initiative in the State, is being set up on eight hectares of land of the RARS at an outlay of ₹13 crore.

Farmers will be trained on how to increase crop productivity at an optimal cost, lower requirement of water and other inputs, reduce post-harvest losses significantly and the latest pest management techniques, he says.

The major technological interventions in the project include setting up separate demonstration centres for commercial vegetable cultivation, cut flower production, open precision farming for cultivation and seed production in seasonal flowers and vegetables, a hi-tech seedling production centre, establishment of the post-harvest technology centre, training centre for hi-tech production of vegetables and flowers and dissemination of market intelligence.

The centre will also function as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) by drawing officials on deputation from the Agriculture department and Kerala Agricultural University.

The entire production is being planned in five Dutch-type polyhouses, four Indian-type polyhouses and four planting material production units. Other components such as four shade net houses, a post-harvest handling unit, fertigation unit, common facility centre, training centre, trainees hostel, auction centre and an open precision farming unit also be set up.

As the Netherlands is a pioneer in developing the most effective technology in the horticulture and floriculture sectors, the project envisages utilising their expertise in the implementation of the project, Dr. Kumar said.

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