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National Online Training on “Conservation Management and Utilization of Horticultural Genetic Resources for livelihood and nutritional security from 22nd -26thNovember, 2021

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To commemorate 75 years of Independent India and to celebrate the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, ICAR-IIHR organized the 5 days national online training programme on “Conservation management and utilization of horticultural genetic resources for livelihood and nutritional security”from 22nd to 26th November, 2021. Appreciating the potential genetic wealth of horticultural crops in the country and understanding the importance of nutritional security in the wake of Covid pandemic, thetrainingwas visioned to impart scientific knowledge on various aspects of horticultural genetic resource management to expedite their use for the betterment of farming community and thereby the national economy.

The training received an overwhelming response across the country marking the registration of 220 participantsrepresenting students, scientists, faculty and private sector representatives from various states and union territories. Among this, 49 % were from State Agricultural Universities and 30.6% from ICAR institutes and remaining from ICFRE, Central Universities, private companies and other R&D organizations. The registrations depicted a strong base of horticultural research for the future in India.

Inaugural session

The inaugural session was held on 22ndNovember, 2021 under the chairmanship of Padma Bhushan Dr.R.S.Paroda, Chairman, TAAS and Former DG, ICAR. The presence and wishes of Dr.R.S.Paroda, the architect of PGR in India was a token of encouragement and inspiration tothe organizers and the participants. Two e-publications were released on the occasion; one was the inventory of registered horticultural germplasm from ICAR-IIHR and one was the e-compendium of invited lectures and abstracts.

The training was organized in 4 modules namely

  • Module I: Genetic resources in horticultural crops, diversity, distribution and utilization: This module covered the diversity distribution crop wise in fruits, vegetables, flowers, medicinal, spices, tubers,plantation and mushrooms as well and alsothe diversity profile in hotspot areas like North eastern India, Western ghats and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Module II: Methods and tools for conservation and management of HGRswith case studies (species and institutional):This included the lectures right from principles of exploration, conservation, quarantine, role of molecular markers, genomics, GIS mapping, informatics and statistics in HGR management
  • Module III: National laws and policy framework governingHGRs: This module covered the various laws and policy aspects like PPVFRA, Plant breeders right, biodiversity act, access and benefit sharing, germplasm registration etc; Appraisal on these aspects is very important when dealing with genetic resources
  • Module IV: Technology transfer models for utilization of HGRs: This module was an experience sharing and demonstration of different ways in which the genetic diversity can be linked to technology commercialization and hence to livelihood security. This involved the success models at IIHR like ITMU and BESST HORT business incubation model and alsostart-up model from ICAR-IISR. There was also experience sharing by two farmers who are involved in in situ conservation of many indigenous fruit and other species.


The training was elaborate and exhaustive covering 8 to 10 lectures in each module and in total 52 lectures in 5 days. Experienced and eminent resource persons in the subject areas from within the institute and outside the institute like ICAR institutes including NBPGR, IISR, CTCRI, CPCRI, DFR, CSIR institutes, MS Swaminathan research foundation, Tropical Botanical Garden Research Institute, and NGOs like FRLHT contributed significantly to the successful conduct of this training.

The participation and interaction of the trainees was also commendable even though the training was virtual.Some of the lectures like “role of wild relatives in crop improvement, case study of Strobilanthus, principles and methods of conservation, informatics in HGR management, diversity of mushrooms, diversity in Andamans were highly interactive showing the enthusiasm and interest of participants.

The training was unique in many aspects; like recording a massive registration across the country, having a website exclusively for the training programmewhich facilitated the participants and resource persons to glance through the entire programme at one place. There was a call for abstracts from interested participants and we received a total of 63 abstracts. Selected abstracts were asked for e-poster preparation and two best e-posters are to be awarded. The e-posters were displayed in the gallery of the website and also uploaded on with the DOI number as well. This will facilitate the citation of the training as well as the posters. There was also an exciting pre-training quiz, post training quiz and quiz session at the end of each lecture. This was basically to understand the receptiveness of the participants and all the participants scored well. Thus, sincere efforts were taken to make the online programme interactive and interesting and hope the participants could enlighten themselves with regard to conservation, management and utilization of Horticultural genetic resources.

Few recommendationsemerged out of the training programme are

  • Encouraging  in situ conservation strategies for the conservation of horticultural species wherever feasible,
  • Promoting  complementary conservation strategies instead of going for only insitu or only ex situ conservation,
  • Priority   should be given for mapping and documenting the horticultural genetic resources effectively for maximising utilization,
  • Community Agrobiodiversity  centres needs to be established in all the districts for facilitating linking biodiversity with nutritional seciurity and livelihood. The model example is of MS Swaminathan Research Foundation Agrobiodiversity Centre at Waynad district, Kerala .
  • The final recommendation was to diversify the food basket by including the traditional and indigenous food types comprising of landraces where nutrition is coupled with diversity. This practice will in turn conserve the landraces also.

The concluding lecture of the training programme was a special lecture by Dr.V. A .Parthasarathy, Former Director, ICAR-IISR, Calicut on “Heirloom varieties in Horticulture”  which was very vibrant and energetic taking the participants to a better level of understanding of our culture, tradition and linking it with the indigenous plant diversity.

Valedictory   session

The training programme concluded with the valedictory session on 26thNovember, 2021 and was chaired by Dr.A.K.Singh, Honourable DDG, Horticultural Sciences, ICAR, New Delhi. Valedictory session started with the formal welcome by Dr.P.E.Rajasekharan, the training director. He briefed about the genesis, objectives and achievements of the programme. This was followed by a feedback session of trainees where a few participants expressed their views. The trainees expressed unanimously that the training was highly beneficial and they got an elaborate understanding about various aspects of conservation, management and utilization of horticultural genetic resources. They said that it was a good exposure to experiences and knowledge sharing by eminent personalities and they gained enormous knowledge out of the session. This was followed by remarks of Dr.B.N.S. Murthy, Director, ICAR-IIHR. Dr. Murthy stressed upon the importance of genetic resources in plant breeding and also expressed his views on sharing and exchange of material for benefit of research. He congratulated the organizing team for successful conduct of the programme. Dr.M.V.Dhananjaya Principal Scientist and Secretary, Society for Promotion of Horticulture briefed about the activities of the society in the promotion of horticultural research and extension in the country. He also mentioned about various fellowships, awards and other schemes which the society has initiated for promotion of horticultural sector. He cited about the number of registrations and financial outlay of the training and congratulated the team. This was followed by the remarks from guest of honour, Dr.V.A.Parthasarathy, President, National Academy of Biological Sciences, and former director, ICAR-IIHR, Calicut. Dr. Parthasarathy expressed his contentment to see the participation from across the country and said that the programme is conducted very timely for promoting the horticultural scenario of the country. He expressed his wishes and compliments to the organizing committee. Next session was the announcement of e-poster winners. Best e-poster award was given to the poster entitled “Exploring local germplasm of Eastern and North eastern  India in vegetable crops” submitted by Dr.G.C.Acharya, Dr.NareshPonnam, Dr.Meenu Kumari, Dr. Sangeetha and Dr. P. Srinivas from CHES, Bhuvaneshwar. Second best e-poster award was given to the poster entitled” Evaluation of morphological and genetic variability in Annatto (Bixa orellana) submitted by Nisha Joseph and E.A.Seril, Catholicate College, Pathanamthitta, Kerala. This was followed by the remarks of chief guest, Dr.A.K.Singh, DDG, Horticultural Sciences, ICAR. Dr.A.K.Singh.  In his remarks, he expressed that there is a need to focus on long term goals of sustainable food production rather than short term benefits of increasing farmers income by mammoth production. He also urged the need to diversify the food basket by including minor and indigenous food crops. He opined that as a diversity rich country, we should use our genetic resources for improving certain traits in horticultural crops like improving the shelf life, improving the biotic and abiotic stress resistance and also improving the bioactive compounds of pharmaceutical compounds. He stressed upon the need for  scientific characterization and evaluation of genetic resources for its effective utilization. Finally, he conveyed his compliments to the entire team for successful conduct of the training programme. The programme was concluded with the vote of thanks by Dr.Linta Vincent, training co-ordinated. The valedictory session was attended by around 220 members including participants and resource persons.

Feed back from some of the participants

Airina C K - I wholeheartedly thank and congratulate the organizers for this excellent training programmee. Immensely benefited.

 Lolly S Pereira – Dear organizers, congratulations and appreciation for organizing this exhaustive training programmee. Looking forward for more in the future.

 Ashish – Thank you very much all the team members for organizing wonderful training programmee.

Mahabub Alam – Thank you so much respected sir/madam for such a well organized programmee.

Simmy A M – Respected organizers, Thank you very much for your sincere efforts in making this training a grand success.

Vishwas Acharya – one thing I appreciate the most is your vigilance and promptness of solving each and every queries from participants and gentle reminders about the various session. Absolute outstanding and this type of systematic organization increase our faith in online training.

Shareefa – Well planned training programmee. Excellent coordination, thank you organizers.

Riyaz Malik – Commendable training programmee, well done, excellently conducted

Kalandhar Babu – Hearty congratulations to entire team of organizers for informative training programmee. This training programmee helped a lot for the scientists working in remote areas.

Padmapriya - Well organized, very informative and systematic execution, heartfelt appreciations to the organizing team on behalf of TNAU. Thank you for the opportunity and except the same in future.


In a nutshell the online training programme on “Conservation Management and Utilization of Horticultural Genetic Resources for livelihood and nutritional security” from 22nd -26thNovember, 2021 was a huge success!

DR.RS Paroda inaugurating the training