Allocation for Horticulture Mission may double: Official

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Tiruchirapalli, Oct 23 (UNI) The Union Government is likely to increase its allocation for the National Horticulture Mission to at least Rs 3,000 crore during the XI Plan, double the allotment under the X Plan, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Deputy Director General (Horticulture) H P Singh said.

Talking to newspersons here yesterday, Mr Singh said the current mission, to promote horticulture crops, was having good impact.

On the proposed upgradation of the National Research Centre on Banana (NRCB) here, Mr Singh said the proposal was not yet completed.

He said allocation for the National Research Centre on Banana (NRCB) here was likely to be more than double during the XI Plan touching about Rs 15 crore. Most of the additional allocation would be spent on improving the centre's infrastructure.

Replying to a question on the ICAR's new research programmes, he said India was part of an international research initiative on the genomics of potato for which ICAR would be contributing about Rs 29 crore.

A research project on virus attacks on diverse crops is likely to be sanctioned soon at a cost of Rs 40 crore.

Earlier, speaking at the inauguration of the VI Steering Committee Meeting of Banana Asia Specific Network (BAPNET), Dr Singh called for trans-border collaborative research to tackle challenges in growing banana and the diseases spreading across the borders.

Climate change posed an important challenge as the associated temperature rise and change in rainfall pattern could have an impact on horticulture crops, especially banana.

In his address, Agustin B Molina, Regional Coordinator for Asia and Pacific, Bioversity International and Executive Secretary, BAPNET, said the dreaded and virulent tropical race 4 of panama wilt, a major production threat to Cavendish and other varieties of banana, was spreading in Asia and posing a threat.

Mr Nicolas Roux, Project Coordinator, Bioversity International, pointed out it was essential to check the spread of the disease in China and the Philippines, the two major Cavendish-producing countries and its spread to other nations.

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