Two days ‘State level Seminar on Rooftop Gardening and Urban Horticulture’ was held at Central Horticultural Experiment Station (CHES), ICAR-IIHR, Bhubaneswar during 24th to 25th November 2019. The Seminar was jointly organised by Rotary Club of Bhubaneswar Heritage (RCB Heritage), Plant Lovers’ Association (PLA) and Central Horticultural Experiment Station (ICAR-IIHR) to highlight the importance of increasing green cover in cities and educate the urbanites about the scientific advances in urban horticultural techniques. The seminar was inaugurated by the Chief Guest Dr. Bijay Kumar Upadhyay, IAS, Director, Directorate of Horticulture, Govt. of Odisha and Guest of honour Mr. Manmath Pani, Addl. Secretary, Dept of Agriculture, Govt. of Odisha in the august presence of Rtn. Dr. Sarangdhar Samal, President, RCB Heritage and Mr. Pratap Mahapatra, Vice President, PLA. Dr. P. Srinivas, Principal Scientist, CHES (ICAR-IIHR), Bhubaneswar and convener of seminar welcomed the guests, dignitaries and the participants from across the State. The Chairman of Organising Committee Rtn. CA Rajendra Kumar Das briefed the participants about the objectives and significance of organising the Seminar on issues having widespread implications on urban society and environment. Addressing the gathering, Mr. Pratap Mahapatra highlighted the role of Plant Lovers’ Association in promoting the gardening and plantation in the Bhubaneswar region since past 32 years resulting in a silent gardening revolution in the region. Rtn. Dr. Sarangdhar Samal informed the gathering on how the idea of organising this Seminar was inspired by late Dr. S. C. Mohapatra, who had the vision of urban horticulture and vertical farming some two decades back. He announced the institution of “Dr. S.C. Mohapatra Memorial Running Trophy for Best Rooftop Gardening” in his memory and handed over the same to Plant Lovers’ Association in the garden competition. Speaking on the occasion Mr. Manamath Pani informed about the government schemes available for peri-urban farmers and spoke on the need to introduce new gardening techniques to facilitate urban gardening. Chief Guest of the occasion Dr. B.K. Upadhyay, IAS appreciated the efforts taken by the organisers to address concerns pertaining to rooftop gardening and urban horticulture. He offered to make necessary provisions for city farmers based on the recommendations of the seminar and case studies and government schemes in other States. A short documentary on selected roof top gardens developed by the city dwellers in Bhubaneswar was also screened during the seminar, which was highly appreciated by the participants. The technical session was handled by Mr. Robert Fernandes, renowned rooftop and urban horticulture expert, Mumbai; Dr. H. P. Sumangala, Sr scientist, ICAR-IIHR and Dr. Anil Nair, Principal Scientist, ICAR-IIHR. Renowned rooftop gardeners like Mr. Dushyant Dash, Mrs. Jayanti Sahoo and Mrs. Gayatri Samantray shared their experiences on their roof top gardens
On 2nd day, Sri H.S. Upadhyay, IFS, PCCF, Wildlife graced the occasion as Chief Guest and spoke about developing gardens in and around houses and office premises to compensate the loss of greenery due to acquisition of land for buildings. While addressing the gathering Dr G.C. Acharya, Head, CHES, ICAR-IIHR informed that the CHES has been organising such seminar and workshops in the light of changing perception of urban population on issues like climate change, organic produce, need of urban greenery, etc. The session was also addressed by Mrs. Poornima Savargaonkar, Roof top expert from Delhi, Rtn. Dr. Sarangdhar Samal, President, RCB Heritage, and Rtn CA R.K. Das, Chairman of the organising committee.
During the technical session an elaborate presentation was made by Dr. D. Kalaivanan, Senior Scientist, ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru; Mrs. Poornima Savargaonkar, Roof top expert and social media exponent from Delhi spoke at length on a topic ‘Roof top garden: Preparations and essential inputs’. During the post lunch session demonstration and hands on training on media preparation were taken up by Mrs. Poornima Savargaonkar. Hands-on training on preparation of fermented Cocopeat for the participants and Dr. P. Naresh, Scientist, CHES(ICAR-IIHR), Bhubaneswar explained the importance of vegetable grafting and demonstrated the technique to the peri-urban farmers and students.
The Valedictory programme was chaired by Prof. D. P. Ray, Ex-Vice Chancellor, Odisha University Agriculture & Technology (OUAT), in presence of Mr. Khirod Pattanaik, President, Plant Lovers’ Association and Dr. G. C. Acharya, Head of the Station. Addressing the gathering, Chief Guest Prof. D. P. Ray appreciated the efforts of the organising institutions to conduct the two day seminar on a very pertinent topic. He presented the pan-India scenario on the urban horticulture and mentioned about the advantages and disadvantages of roof top gardening. At the end Dr. P. Srinivas, Principal Scientist proposed vote of thanks.
A committee of Scientists, technicians, and supporting staff led by Head of the Station co-ordinated the organisation of the Seminar at CHES(IARI-IIHR), Bhubaneswar.