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New initiatives soon to promote horticulture

Our Bureau

BANGALORE, Nov. 28

IN a bid to popularise horticulture and related concepts both in urban and rural areas, the Karnataka Horticulture Department is planning new initiatives.

To be known as Urban Horticulture and Rural Horticulture, these new programmes would be launched on January 26 next year, said Mr G.K.Vasanth Kumar, Director, Horticulture Department, Karnataka.

The emphasis on Rural Horticulture would be mainly on technology transfer related to new crops, organic farming, sustainability and integrated pest management whereas Urban Horticulture would focus on terrace gardening, rain water harvesting, garden and park maintenance, Mr Kumar said. The department was planning to rope in environmentalists and various non-governmental agencies working in these areas, he added. It is also planning to come out with a directory, containing useful information.

Karnataka is among the leading States in horticulture and this new initiative was expected to help the State consolidate its position, he said.

In the case of Urban Horticulture, the department plans to set up about 100 demo units, of which 70 will be in Bangalore while the rest will be in other districts.

"The concept of terrace gardening highlights the importance of plants in home gardening among urbanites and would help maintain greenery in the city," Mr Kumar said, adding that the department would be providing the necessary technical inputs and teaching aids to those interested. The department has earmarked an outlay of Rs 5 lakh for the initiative.

The Rural Horticulture, which involves an outlay of Rs 20 lakh, would initially be started in about 100 units, that is about 10 villages in 10 districts.

The focus would be on transition to organic farming from the existing set-up, even while growing new crops such as medicinal and aromatic plants, nutrition management and pesticide management among others, Mr Kumar said.

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