Gandhigram (Tripura) , Jan. 15 : Tripura Forest Department has started an orchid cultivation-cum-training centre at Gandhigram in the outskirts of capital Agartala under the Sadar forest range.
The prime idea behind the centre is to promote orchid cultivation throughout the state especially in the rural areas and to create employment opportunities.
The credit for this trend is attributed to the growing demand of orchid around the globe, and which in turn can give high return.
With suitable agro-climatic condition, fertile soil, abundant moisture and sub-tropical climate that offer immense scope for production of a wide variety of orchids, the Tripura Forest Department on experimental basis has started the orchid centre.
A greenhouse facilitated with the latest techniques in orchid cultivation has been created with convergence of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) fund within the forest nursery at Gandhigram.
Along with the locally available wild varieties several other commercial viable orchid species have been collected from Darjeeling and Guwahati at the centre where people with training in orchid cultivation are also getting knowledge on market linkages.
The prime cause for popularising orchid cultivation is to create alternate livelihood opportunities in rural areas and for improving the standard of living of the unprivileged section.
The forest department to encourage and develop entrepreneurial skills among the youth is not only providing free training for in-depth knowledge in the field but also providing free plant materials, fertilizer and pesticides.
"All these orchids have been collected from outside and we are being taught how to take care of them using coconut fibers, vitamins and water.
If we can grow them properly then we shall be profitable as they can fetch good return. We are taking training for around two months," said Manik Das, progressive orchid farmer.
Most of the trainees, who earlier were engaged in cultivation of vegetables or dependent on forest, have found orchid cultivation more lucrative since they are sold at a high price in markets across the country and even have high demand in the abroad market.