Promotion of nurseries for fruits and plantation crops

N Devachandra, L Wangchu, S Romen Singh, B Singh and BN Hazarika
Contd from previous issue
 For tea, individual estates and gardens are propagating their required cuttings as per their needs. They hardly procure from third parties. It is high time for encouraging nurserymen in our region to be ready for the upcoming demand. Otherwise, nurseries in other parts of the country would dictate our requirements, that too with no assurance of being ‘organically’ raised!
At present, in each of the eight States in NE Region, there are less than 10 nurseries that are dependable in terms of capacity to supply authentic planting materials in required quantity, as and when needed and at the affordable price. Bigger nurseries in Assam especially in Khetri (Kamrup District) and Nagaon are meeting the demand of almost all the States except Tripura and Sikkim, whose requirement is made from neighbouring West Bengal. These nurseries concentrate mainly on saplings for ornamentals and flowers rather than fruits, plantation and nut crops. It is disheartening to learn that almost all the large nurseries procure planting materials of fruit and plantation crops either from Andhra Pradesh or West Bengal till recently. It is ironic that State Governments in NER are implementing horticulture schemes and the nurseries in AP and WB are harvesting the dividends through intermediary nurseries in Assam. When planting materials are imported, there is a hidden risk of ‘untended’ introduction of pests, nematodes and pathogens (plant inhabitant & soil borne). The effectiveness in implementation of plant quarantine laws and rules in the region would still take a few more years. Thanks to extensive awareness provided by scientists from researchers from ICAR, AAU, CAU, CIH and KVKs, National Horticulture Board (NHB) had accredited few fruit nurseries in Assam (5), Mizoram (3), Nagaland (5), Sikkim (19) and Tripura (1) by the end of 2018. Other states need to have reliable nurseries for fruit-plantation crops. NHB is providing guidance for accreditation of fruit nurseries.
The essential component for establishing a fruit nursery include a suitable site preferably with an approachable road, there shall be expandable land. The site gets optimum sunshine and there is no thick plantation/trees/bamboos especially on the southern side.

(To be contd)