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National Horticulture Fair Showcases Wide Range of Cutting Edge Technologies

Earlier, flower waste was used to compost manure in the city, but scientists at the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) have created eco-friendly incense sticks out of it.

Shivam Dwivedi
Arka Flower Incense Sticks were created by Smita G.R. and her team from flower waste
Arka Flower Incense Sticks were created by Smita G.R. and her team from flower waste

Many innovative technologies were on display at the National Horticulture Fair-2023, which was inaugurated on February 20. These included mushroom millet cookies, incense sticks made from flower waste, a brinjal-tomato graft plant to combat waterlogging, and the use of native bees to pollinate crops grown in a greenhouse.

Arka Flower Incense Sticks were created by Smita G.R. and her team from flower waste. "These incense sticks do not use charcoal and are entirely plant-based, making them eco-friendly," she explained to media. Rose, marigold, gladiolus, chrysanthemum, and other flavours are now available in incense sticks.

Tomato plants wilt in waterlogged fields and are thus not flood resistant. Lakshman R.H., principal scientist at IIHR, devised a novel solution by grafting brinjal roots to tomato scions. "Brinjal plant doesn't wilt for six days even if waterlogged, whereas the tomato plant wilts in less than 48 hours. So we grafted a brinjal root to a tomato plant," he explained.

Until recently, greenhouse growers of cucurbit vegetables such as muskmelon, cucumber, and gourds had to manually pollinate female flowers for fruit bearing. Only the European Bumble Bee was thought to be suitable for pollination in a controlled environment, and efforts to import the exotic species were thwarted by the government.

T. Venkata Rami Reddy, Principal Scientist at ICAR-IIHR, has now experimented and demonstrated that two native bee species, the Indian honey bee and stingless bees, can be used to pollinate cucurbit vegetables in greenhouses.

"Bee rearing in a greenhouse will save farmers from the time-consuming process of hand pollination, increase yield, and provide farmers with an additional source of revenue," Dr. Reddy explained.

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