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India's first commercial orchidium coming up at Imphal
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 23 2015 : Manipur can soon boast of having India's first commercial orchidium with Imphal's Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) finalising an ambitious plan for exporting orchids.

The institute has acquired a 37.97 acre of farm land at the foothill of Haraorou in Imphal East, about 15 minutes drive from Imphal city, for setting up the orchidium.

"We are in the process of developing the orchidium.

We will grow a wide range of orchids and the main focus will be on Dendrobium Aggregatum (or Dendrobium lindleyi).

This will be India's first commercial orchidium," IBSD Director Prof Dinabandhu Sahoo told reporters today.

Manipur has discovered nearly 300 species of orchids.

Experts are confident that around S00 species are found in the wilds of Manipur hills.

The Centre for Orchid Gene Conservation of the Eastern Himalayan Region located at Henbung of Senapati district has so far collected more than 100 species mostly from Senapati district.

However the State has yet to set up an orchidium for commercial purposes.

Orchid is a multimillion dollar business with countries like Thailand, Taiwan and Netherlands earning huge revenues from orchid farming.

The Director said the orchidium will have a variety of orchids, besides dendrobium.

"Our plan is not only to encourage orchid business for enhancing the State's economy but also to attract tourists.

It will draw domestic as well as foreign tourists," Sahoo who completed one year as the institute's Director this month said.

The Hararou farm has already planted black rice, locally named chakhao successfully.

The orchidium is among the long list of action plans of the institute for sustainable development through skill development and scientific research works.

The National institute has already tied up with Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Institute of Himalayan Technology, Himachal Pradesh etc.

for research on chakhao and promotion of the rice variety.

"Manipur's chakhao is growing in the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University right now," Sahoo said.

Also in the pipeline is getting a major share for the North East from Gujarat's multi-crore kite business.

"Gujarat has a Rs 5000 crore kite business.

The backbone of the business is bamboo, which are collected from the North East States.

If the primary processing of bamboo for making kites is done in the North East itself, the region could benefit immensely.

We are working on this also," the Director claimed.

The institute is also set to open its complex to university, college and school students of the North East periodically so that they can develop scientific temper and become researchers.

Within one year of his stint, Sahoo has left a mark by promoting Manipur's culture by putting up structures based on Manipur resources like bamboo gates-and furniture.

The institute's complex, which was a mess one year ago has today turned into one of the cleanest complexes of an institute.

In foot, foreign tourists coming to Manipur have started visiting the institute's campus.

With an international standard six-room guest house coming up inside the complex, Sahoo started inviting scientists from around the world to visit the institute for research collaborations.

"Our rich bio-resources and their (foreign scientists) expertise couId do wonders for all," the Director said.


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