The ‘vegetable cafeteria’, a field gene bank, consists of 72 improved hybrid vegetables and greens suitable for tropical and sub-tropical condition in poly-house, net house, tunnels, vertical farming and open field.
The V-C said the vegetable cafeteria would benefit the students and researchers. She stressed the role of hybrids in increasing production of vegetables and enhancing the livelihood of farmers. She said that in India, 27.74 million hectares were under vegetable cultivation and the production was 341.63 million tonnes. In order to move forward, it was necessary to expand the commercial cultivation area in vegetables through technological interventions and dissemination.
Expressing the need for “Horti-Tourism” Dr Geethalakshmi said that it would help exhibit the traditional horticultural wealth. With a sustainable approach, farmers economy could be strengthened at an exponential rate. It avoids the problem associated with complete crop failure, solves market problems and promotes rural development. Moreover, horti-tourism could provide an income stream to the farmers and provide opportunities for succeeding generations.
She also pointed out the need for urban horticulture through vertical farming system for effective utilisation of space in vegetable production.
Besides, the V-C declared open a fruit laboratory and an Integrated Sales Unit comprising quality planting materials in fruits, vegetables, plantation crops, bio-control agents, bio fertilizers, bio tonics and value added products for the benefit of growers and researchers.
Institute Dean .J. Rajangam highlighted the need to focus on off-season vegetable production to meet the demand and to get premium price. He emphasised the effective input use efficiency, water budgeting, post-harvest management, supply chain and digital marketing. C. Muthaiah, Head of the Department, Plant Protection, proposed the vote of thanks.