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Friday, Aug 09, 2002

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Karnataka Govt assistance sought for horticultural institute

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A HORTICULTURAL training institute to coach people to work in the horticulture and biotech industry is proposed to be set up in the State, according to Dr Manmohan Attavar, President, M.H. Marigowda Horticultural Education and Research Foundation.

Speaking at the M.H. Marigowda Foundation Day function held here on Thursday, Mr Attavar asked the Minister for Horticulture, Mr N. Shivanna, for assistance from the Government to set up such an institute.

The institute would help realise Dr Marigowda's dream of making Karnataka a horticulture-rich State, he said.

Dr Marigowda, a horticultural expert, had dedicated his life for the development of this field, as it would help in uplifting farmers and provide healthy food for the society as a whole. He had envisaged setting up of farms and farmer outlets in every district and taluk in the State, apart from measures to offer courses in horticulture in Lalbagh.

Delivering the technical address, Dr P.S. Rao, Vice-President, Indo- American Hybrid Seeds, said that there was a need to conserve medicinal plants. "Today, 30 per cent of the drugs in use are plant-based," he said. "India has a rich variety of medicinal plants, but a lot of them are now in the endangered list."

As an indication of the volumes required in medicine, he said that one gm of taxol was needed to treat one patient for cancer. But to get this, three to six mature trees needed to be cut.

"Biotechnology could help provide large volumes and instead of cutting down trees, just a few cells could be extracted and replicated through biotechnology in labs," he said.

Biotechnology, and tissue culture in particular, could help conserve and propagate medicinal plants. Apart from the volumes, it would also ensure consistent quality, he said, adding that US and Germany were large importers of medicinal plants.

A booklet on the life of Dr Marigowda written by Dr C.S. Malliah, a retired Director of Horticulture, was also released on the occasion.

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