The Kerala government has launched a botanic garden, which will be set up in the state capital, Kannur, with the goal of providing fresh and affordable gardening products to the people of the state.
Kerala, the poorest state in India, is yet to set an official goal for biodiversity and has not declared a National Biodiversity Mission (NBM).
But with its poor infrastructure, and the fact that the state is known for its small and underdeveloped rural areas, the government is targeting to create the Botanical Garden of the People, where people can go and see their gardens, said state Environment Minister P K Chatterjee.
The Botanical Gardens of the people will be a new model for the state, he added.
The government will also set up another garden in the district of Madurai, which is home to the popular Madurai Artisan Market.
A state government spokesperson said the Garden of The People would have a capacity of 25 hectares and the gardens would be set-up by March.
The first garden in Madurai will be in March, when the State Food Administration will start supplying food to farmers in the city.
The government has set a goal to provide 200,000 tonnes of fresh produce to the state each year.
Kannur’s Botanical garden will be the first in the country to be set at the level of the State Agriculture department, which also has its own garden.
This is due to the fact there are only 1,500 gardens in the entire state, said Chatterji.
However, the Botanic Gardens of The people will not be a government-run garden, he said.
The botanic gardens of the residents would be run by local people, and these would also be run as public gardens.
Chatterjee said the state government will set up the Botany Garden of People in partnership with private and non-profit organisations.
“It will be an open and transparent way for people to go and experience the gardens,” he said, adding that the Botanist will not only be responsible for ensuring the sustainability of the gardens, but also will make sure that it is a safe and healthy environment for the public to visit.
The state government is also planning to set a botanist in the village of Raju, which lies in the outskirts of the city, where the government has already set up some botanic and nursery gardens.
According to a report in the Times of Indian, the state has set up more than 50 nurseries in the last three years.
“It’s not a state-run scheme, but a model for people who want to get gardening and are interested in it,” Chatterjjee said.
For more on Kerala, see Kannurtas drought a wake-up call, state government says, by The Times .