The Institute of Bioresources & Sustainable Development (IBSD) is spreading its wings across the North-East. After Manipur, Meghalaya and Sikkim, last week a chapter was inaugurated in Mizoram by Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla.

A body under the Centre's Department of Biotechnology, IBSD’s mandate is to help in development activities through the sustainable use of bio-resources of the region. It also undertakes fresh research and development for path-breaking action and results.

Through these chapters, Prof Dinabandhu Sahoo, Director, IBSD, hopes to bring together different departments, institutes and universities which will create a bio-tech hub in the region through technological interventions and develop technological packages.

In Mizoram, in particular, IBSD plans to start outreach activities which “will be centred around sustainable technologies for protected and open cultivation of important vegetable crops in farmers’ fields and set up IBSD’s Main Hub Mizoram”.

Commercial cultivation

It also envisages setting up a pilot project for protected cultivation of high-quality horticultural, agricultural and ornamental crops. This will be accompanied by open field demonstration for farmers of innovative technologies for the production of French beans, bird’s eye chilli and sticky pumpkin in open conditions.

The idea is to set up units to serve as nucleus facilities that will finally become centres of excellence for high-value commercial cultivation. Farmers and unemployed youth will receive training in production, post-harvest management and marketing. Sahoo feels Mizoram has a huge potential to become a bio-tech hub in the country due to its rich biodiversity, climatic conditions and good air connectivity.

In recent years, IBSD has pioneered the cherry blossom (Sakura) initiative in the North-East and organised the country’s first cherry blossom festival in 2016 in Meghalaya.