Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR)
- The IIHR is a subsidiary of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR).
- The Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), which was set up in 1967, is India’s first-ever horticultural research institute and it works as an organization that conducts research on many different varieties of horticulture like fruits, vegetables and so on.
- Its main research centre is in Bengaluru, Karnataka with subsidiaries all around India.
- The Institute is famous for developing strategies to increase the productivity of different types of horticulture crops as well as act as a facility for storing scientific information related to horticulture.
- Characterized by large flowering heads that closely resemble those of sunflowers, gerbera daisies come in a vibrant rainbow of colors.
- The gerbera currently ranks as the fifth most popular flower in the world behind roses, carnations, chrysanthemums and tulips.
- The gerbera daisy was discovered in 1884 near Barberton, South Africa, by Scotsman Robert Jameson. Gerbera daisies are indigenous to South Africa, where they grow perennially.
- Breeding programs that began in England in 1890 enhanced the flower’s quality and color variations. The gerbera daisy’s popularity soon traveled to growers in the Netherlands which, along with Columbia, is one of the primary distributors of the flower’s cut version today.
Why in the news?
- Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) has developed six indigenous varieties of gerbera to benefit Indian farmers.
- In India, gerbera cultivation accounts for 800 hectares in the floricultural sector that has a coverage of 3.25 lakh hectares. Gerbera is extensively used in decorations and bouquets.
- These developed varieties have tolerance to certain pests which would reduce the application of pesticides and also reduce the cultivation cost.
- But the varieties being cultivated by farmers so far in the country were those from other places, particularly Netherland. This had resulted in farmers paying higher costs for plants as the companies selling them had to pay huge royalties to Netherland firms.
Benefits of indeginous gerbera
- Reduces per hectare spending for farmers.
- Increases per flower income for farmers, thus increasing profit margin.
- Reduces importing of this flowers from Netherlands as importing of these flower varieties is risky as several pests and diseases have entered the country along with them
- Make floral decoration more affordable.