Today's Paper

SHGs to be linked to biotechnology labs

S. Prasad

Krishnagiri: Making the self-help group (SHG) movement differ from its traditional and conventional job, the Krishnagiri district administration has initiated a new concept of linking them to biotechnology labs to impart training and to be self-employed. To begin with, a self-help group from each block will be linked to Growmore Biotech, a biotechnology lab in Hosur to increase their income and generate employment.

Growmore Biotech is presently involved in breeding at least 65 different species of plants including banana, sugarcane, casuarina, bamboo, Rose Mary, Geranium and Patchouli besides ornamental plants. The plants are being sent to domestic markets and exported to Japan, Australia, Germany, Holland, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and the US.

"Presently plants are propagated in hi-tech tissue culture labs and are trained to grow outside seed labs during transplantation to nurseries and farmers. Out of 15 months of propagation period plants are grown in labs for about 12 months. Following this they are grown in a green house for another month and sent to nurseries. Based on this scheme, SHGs from all blocks in the district would be trained on the propagation of tissue culture plants outside green houses in nurseries," according to Dr. Bharathi, Director, Growmore Biotech Limited.

They would work along with nursery staff during the last two months of plant production. Specific expertise for rearing the plants would be provided by horticultural experts who would periodically visit the nurseries and guide the members. Groups with a minimum of 30 cents would be linked to Growmore Biotech for training.

This would help to penetrate the technology to the rural masses and make the product available at the taluk level, Mr. Bharathi added.

Two persons can handle about 20,000 plants a month. When the plants are delivered to farmers each member would earn 70 paise a plant, including labour and input costs.

The required infrastructure, including poly bags, fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals, technical inputs and nutrients would be provided by Growmore biotech to the SHGs.

The groups can sell the plants to the tissue culture labs under buy-back arrangement or market it on their own.

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