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Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003

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Bio-technology incubation centre set up in Pune

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PUNE, April 14

WITH an investment of Rs 2.5 crore, Mitcon Consultancy Services Ltd, has set up a biotechnology incubation centre in Pune— the first such centre in the country. This centre would act as a facilitator, bringing the lab-to-the-land concept to practice. Another centre, catering to the food grains in the semi-arid region has been set up at Icrisat in Andhra Pradesh. The Department of Science and Technology, Government of India has undertaken both the projects.

Dr Pradeep Bavadekar, Managing Director, Mitcon told reporters that the objective of the centre was to commercialise viable bio-technologies through agripreneurs, (agri-graduates, agri-technocrats/ farmers - entrepreneurs) and to provide assistance to farmers in the agri-export zones, namely grapes, wine, mango, orange, onion, banana and pomegranate. The centre would provide pre-harvest assistance and would also enable the farmers to grow the wine-variety of grapes.

He said the lab facilities were also being developed at Khedgaon on a 58-acre land with an investment of Rs 60 lakh. The land is being made available by a trust and said the consent for the setting up of the lab has been obtained, though certain formalities are yet to be cleared. This would act as a demonstration farm to the farmers who complete their training at the agri-clinic and agri-business centre of Mitcon.

He said a scheme had been developed by the Government of India for agri-graduates to develop their skill set and become entrepreneurs.

He said Nabard was also extending a soft loan of Rs 10 lakh for the agri clinic and agri-business centre graduates.

The minimum educational qualification for the programme is graduation.

He said Mitcon would also be working with biotech laboratories, National Chemical Laboratory, the Agarkhar University and other various departments for sharing of resource, technological advances, literature and references. Commercialisation of Gerbera and Carnation would also be taken up by Mitcon, the technology has been developed by Rahuri University, he added.

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