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Innovative Programmes

1. High Tech system for production of quality disease free seed rhizome of Ginger

The ‘National Consultative Meet on ginger and turmeric planting material production’ held in 2014 had recommended to establish a production system for planting material of ginger and turmeric which can ensure freedom from disease and maintain the purity in the planting material produced for distribution to farmers. Based on this recommendation, DASD had implemented the programme for microrhizome production in these crops at three different centres viz. KAU, IISR & TNAU in 2016-17 and continued in KAU and IISR in 2017-18 and 2018-19.The disease free seedlings / rhizomes produces under the programme has been distributed to progressive farmers for field level multiplication. 

2. Scaling up of micro rhizome technology basedginger seed production

The Directorate has been implementing a project on ‘High Tech system for production of quality disease free seed rhizome of Ginger’ in association with Kerala Agri University to ensure disease free ginger seed availability in the state. The programme is giving promising results and the technology has been in use for production and distribution of micro rhizome based protray seedlings of high oil yielding ginger varieties (Athira, Aswathy and Karthika) released by University. This Directorate had called a meeting with the Vice Chancellor, KAU and Director IISR to propose that the conventional seed production of Ginger in KAU be slowly replaced with micro rhizome technology so that only disease-free seed are distributed to the farmers.  Hence, it is proposed to scale up microrhizomes derived ginger seed production to replace ginger seed production by conventional method in the university.For this the Microrhizomes derived seed/protray seedlings of three ginger varieties will be supplied from the central hub (CPBMB) to 10 different network centresunder the universityfor multiplication in poly house conditions. The production technology standardized by KAU for production of seed rhizomes under polyhouse conditionswill be followed at these centres.  Trials on refinement of the production technology and off-season production of microrhizomes will also be done as a part of the programme.Financial assistance to renovate, upgrade and establish poly house structures in these centres will be provided. It is proposed to produce 30 lakhs single bud transplants within the project period which will be distributed to licensed farmers / university centresfor further multiplication and distribution covering an area of 50 ha which can yield minimum 1000 tonnes of disease-free ginger seed material. The total project period will be of 2 years and the project cost estimated is Rs. 53.55 Lakhs.

3. Establishment of essential Oil Distillation Units

Aromatic crops are some of the most profitable but underutilized crops, which have immense potential to alleviate socio-economic conditions of small and marginal farmers. Essential oils of these crops have very high demand in national and international market. India stands third in world’s total essential oil production with a share of 16-17 percent and stands second in terms of value with the share of 21-22percent. The country’s Rs.15,000-crore fragrances and flavors market (aromatic sector) is witnessing buoyant times with consumption demand going up in the FMCG sector, rapid penetration in the rural market, and growing acceptance of Indian items in the global market. Aromatic essential oils are mainly used by pharmaceutical, fragrance, perfumery and aromatherapy industries. The market for industrial fragrances, which go into end products, from toothpaste, talcum powder, soaps and agarbattis, and flavours that go into food items, have been driven by several factors – the growth of the FMCG sector in the country, affordability for products in the rural parts of the country and growing acceptance of Indian materials in the global market place.  However, the growth opportunities in this sector have not been fully utilized.

To promote aromatic crops, the Directorate has been implementing planting material production programme, frontline demonstration of production technologies, trainings for growers and skill development trainings on essential oil extractor for rural youth. As the area under the aromatic crops are increasing, there is a lack of expertise and facilities for processing of the herbage produced to yield quality essential oils. The quality of the aromatic oil produced depends on the technology used for distillation. The Directorate proposed to demonstrate the essential oil extraction process through steam distillation unit under MIDH assistance in potential areas.

Steam distillation process involves the use of a distillation unit wherein plant material is distilledwith the steam generated outside the unit in a standalone boiler. Essential oil passes withthe steam into a condenser and subsequently oil separator where it is separated. It is estimated that the cost for installation of 100 Kg/ 200 Kg /500 Kg capacity distillation unitsmay vary from Rs. 2.5 Lakhs to 5.00 Lakhs. Under this programme, DASD propose to establish steam distillation units at different SAUs with a total financial requirement of Rs. 15 Lakhs. This demonstration will encourage small and marginal farmers for extraction of essential oil, processing and marketing and thus help them becomeself-reliant to earn appropriate profits from cultivation of aromatic crops.