Aizawl, the 19thNovember 2021 : Pu Lalruatkima, Minister for Rural Development, yesterday inaugurated Mizoram’s first dedicated facility for preservation, propagation and protection of endemic orchids – Mizoram Orchid Centre at Maubuang about 41 kilometres from the capital Aizawl.
The Minister lauded the achievements made by Aibawk Cluster under SPMRM and noted that even at the national level, Aibawk Cluster has managed to stay in the top performing clusters for a number of years among more than 300 Clusters across the country. He hoped that the Orchid Centre will help in the preservation and protection of Mizoram’s orchid species, some of which are nearly extinct and found only in Mizoram. With the opening of the Centre, he said that avenues for eco-tourism and rural tourism could open new opportunities for the people in the area. This, he added, is what SPMRM wants to achieve - equitable opportunities for people in rural areas.
Prof. F. Lalnunmawia, MLA of the area and a forestry academician who also spoke on the occasion said that orchid cultivation could help boost the economy of the area and hoped that the Centre would partner with the locals on this aspect.
The Centre was funded under Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission (SPMRM) and constructed at a cost of Rs. 3.9 crores. It has a fully equipped laboratory for tissue culture, green houses and other related ancillaries. The Centre will also undertake research in orchids and also look into possible employment and revenue generation by villagers in the surrounding areas. The Rural Development, which is the implementing agency for the project will hand over the Centre to a private player – Zoawi Orchids for operation and maintenance for a fixed term of 3 years.
Inputs from scientists from National Research Centre for Orchids, Sikkim and other orchid experts from the state and Mizoram University were also taken during the planning of the Centre. With its lush forests and semi-tropical climate Maubang and surrounding areas have a rich variety of orchids and with the start of the centre, orchid study and research is expected to pick up pace in the state. BIOCONE, a respected environmental NGO, was engaged for collection of orchid species from across the state for preservation at the Centre.
Mizoram has close to 350 species of orchids with new species still being identified but developmental projects have ravaged the orchid resources in the state and many have become threatened species with some on the brink of extinction. Collection of orchids by suspected plant smugglers, which took place rampantly during the last couple of years has also led to loss of orchid diversity Fortunately this has been stopped by the efforts of the state's apex NGO - the YMA under their preservation of biodiversity call.
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