Dr Albert Chiang PhD Scientist IBSD
While several parts of the country are reeling under a severe heat wave where temperature have crossed 50 degrees Centigrade, a large number of tourists from across the country are moving to various hill stations.
This being the time of school and college holidays, lakhs of tourists is visiting the North Eastern States including Meghalaya, to enjoy the beauty of this hill state which is famous for Sohra (Cherrapunji) which is known for one of the highest rainfall in the world. Taking advantage of the huge tourist rush, Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), an autonomous institute of Department of Biotechnology, Government of India has opened its state of the art orchidarium to the public in its campus at the hills of Upper Shillong, where the maximum temperature is between 15-20 degrees Centigrade.
The 6000 square feet state of the art orchidarium is quite unique and only one of its kind in the country having climate controlled system and displays several species of orchids, said Prof. Dinabandhu Sahoo, Director IBSD. IBSD is promoting orchid based bio-entrepreneurship to strengthen the bio-economy of the region as a major flagship program, said Sahoo.
North-east India houses about 900 species of Orchids while Meghalaya houses 439 species. Many species are little known and are facing various threats both natural and anthropogenic. Unregulated wild collection of many species with ornamental values poses a big threat to their existence. Orchids will encourage students and citizens of India to develop love and care for nature at one site and generate employment opportunities for many farmers and unemployed youth in the region. The estimated global trade of floriculture is 80 Billion USD. India shares a very low pie of this stake and still holds a meager 0.6% of the total floriculture exports. The Indian Floriculture market was worth INR 130 Billion in 2017. The market is further projected to reach INR 394 Billion by 2023, at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 20% during 2018-2023.
In this orchidarium, tourists, scholars and flower lovers can view several orchid species in one place like in Thailand, Singapore, Japan, England and many other countries, said Sahoo.