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A three days training programme on “Scientific Cultivation of Spices for Economic Prosperity” was organized under CSS-MIDH (NHM) Project on Spices and All India Coordinated Research Project on Palms project during August 1-3, 2023. The programme was inaugurated by Dr. E.B. Chakurkar, Director, ICAR-CIARI, who graced the occasion as the Chief Guest in the presence of Dr. P. K. Singh, Head, Division of Horticulture and Crop Improvement. Chief Guest urged the participants to make best use of the training for adopting spices farming as a business venture. Technical session started with an online lecture on ‘Long pepper and lemon grass as potential crops for income diversification’ by Dr. G.R. Smitha, ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bengaluru. Dr. Ajit A. Waman, Scientist (SS) and Organizer of the event, gave theoretical background of the topic and oriented the participants on various scientific aspects of these crops. This was followed by the practical session on postharvest management and processing of cinnamon and Malabar tamarind using mechanical dryers.

On second day, trainees visited Horticultural Plants Propagation Unit of the Institute and were provided hands-on exposure to application of various vegetative propagation methods in different spice crops. Techniques of propagation such as division, stem cuttings, slips, air layering, serpentine layering and methods of grafting were performed by the participants. Protected cultivation of woody pepper, bush pepper cultivation and cultivation of herbs in Dweep HanGreens were also demonstrated. Trainees were also taken to the Horticulture Research Farm, Sippighat of the Institute, wherein Dr. V. Damodaran oriented them on different cropping systems based on spices and plantation crops.On the last day, trainees were taken to experimental and mother blocks of various potential spices identified for the islands. It was followed by a demonstration on vermicomposting and organic inputs preparation by Dr. T. Subramani. A lecture on processing and marketing prospects of spices from the islands was delivered by Dr. Pooja Bohra, co-organizer of the event. Processed products prepared from the spices at ICAR-CIARI and those available in the markets were also showcased to the participants. Planting material of clove, long pepper, lemon grass and woody pepper was provided to the participants which was facilitated by Ms. Karthika Devi. A total of 25 trainees including educated youth, farmers and students attended the event.

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