JORHAT, Nov 1 � In what may turn out to be a boon for the State�s agricultural sector, the Assam Agricultural University (AAU) has embarked on a mega nursery project (V-type) to provide at least 16 lakh quality saplings annually for horticultural purposes to farmers of the State in several districts which have witnessed low produce due to insufficient planting materials.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Dr KM Bujarbaruah told this correspondent that no other Indian agricultural university took up such an ambitious project earlier. The popular V-type model of nurseries adopted by foreign countries like Italy, Switzerland and others has been followed by the university to meet the increasing demand for local varieties of tomato, chilli, cabbage, cauliflower, brinjal, strawberry, flowers, etc.
The State Agriculture Department has to depend on many suppliers from Delhi and West Bengal for quality plants every year as the small number of certified nurseries in the State cannot meet the demands of farmers sufficiently.
�I hope our nursery will fulfil the needs of quality planting materials across the State.In a year, about 16 lakhs of saplings will be produced here,� said Dr Bujarbaruah. According to him, the sapling production will be increased up to 20 lakh in the nursery to meet the demands of farmers.
With financial assistance under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikash Yojana (RKVY), the Vice Chancellor initiated the project on a one-and-a-half acre plot at the university campus, which had been lying in an abandoned state for years. As he saw a successful model of such nurseries during his visits to Switzerland and Italy two years ago, he decided to practise it in the State due to its capacity to produce quality saplings on a large scale.
Narrating the use of high density planting technologies in the nursery, Professor Ananta Saikia of the Horticulture Department of the AAU said that every sapling gets a good treatment of nutrients and a conducive atmosphere in a proportionate manner.
�We are now ready to meet the increasing demand for horticulture saplings in the State. A trial run is going on,� said Professor Saikia. More importance is being given to planting bhot jolokia (Tezpur chilli) in the nursery as its demand has been increasing rapidly across the State because of its medicinal value and its use in producing tear gas in defence laboratories.