Pilot park to promote Cactus as green gold park of India established in Pune

Pilot park to promote Cactus as green gold park of India established in Pune

Pilot park to promote Cactus as green gold park of India established in Pune

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On March 11, 2024, Giriraj Singh, Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, inaugurated the first-ever ‘Pilot Cactus Park’ at Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation’s (BAIF’s) central research station at Uruli Kanchan near Pune. The inauguration was held online.

On the same day, Department of Land Resources secretary Manoj Joshi inaugurated a cactus-based vegan leather plant.  Shri. Sunil Chavan, IAS, Secretary, Soil and Water Conservation Department, Government of Maharashtra and Dr Bharat Kakade, President of BAIF were also present on this occasion. A joint venture of BAIF and Five F Agroecology LLP was conceived and which has led to the establishment of this pilot plant.

Giriraj Singh highlighted the importance of cactus-based products for fashion, food, fuel, fertilizer, and fodder, from spineless cactus at this pilot production plant and interaction with the project partners, the Minister, emphasized that cactus is the future crop of the country and expressed hope that with the extensive network of BAIF, cactus will be established as a economically viable green gold plant and will spread to various clusters in the country.  

Dr Bharat Kakade, President and Managing Trustee of BAIF, briefed the minister and attendees about various cactus initiatives and applications, including fodder for animals in dryland areas, fuel production through biogas fed by cactus, liquid organic fertilizer, and food industry applications such as cactus juice,  products being developed out of cactus and plans of BAIF for promotion of cactus for the benefit of the communities in different parts of the country.

BAIF’s plans for promoting cactus across different parts of the country were also discussed, aiming to establish cactus as an economically viable green gold plant. With BAIF’s extensive network, cactus is expected to spread to various clusters in the country, benefiting communities nationwide.

Moreover, Dr Vitthal Kutale, Chief Thematic Programme Executive, Farm Research and Seed Programme BAIF, said that there was no harm to animals with their stable body weight, which is ideal for green fodder in harsh climates without any waste. Additionally, BAIF has tested 100+ cactus types since 2015, with 800+ demos in multiple states.

Ravi Madan, Five F Agroecology LLP, Mumbai and Shri. Mahesh Maheshwari from Miracle AgriGreen Solutions, Ahmedabad, expressed their confidence about the benefit to farmers from this energy-efficient cactus crop.  

The members present during the inauguration were Dr Ashok Pande, Dr Jayant Khadse, Mr Promod Takwale, Dr SS Roy, Dashrath Tambale, Director ATMA, Pune, Ravindra Bhosale, CEO, Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Maharashtra, and many more.

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