Launch of the new phase of M. S. Swaminathan Botanic Garden

11, January 2018
Puthoorvayal , Kalpetta

In the New Year, CAbC embarked with its new phase, “MSSBG” –a Botanical garden project of global standards, which was efficaciously launched by Shri. M. I.  Shanavas on 11th January 2018. MSSBG is a unique garden in many ways. It gives equal priority to wild, natural, cultivated,  traditional, horticultural species and varieties of plants. The programme launched with a message from Prof. M. Swaminathan who pointed out the role of botanic gardens play in the growth of economic botany along with the conventional roles like conservation, education and recreation.

The new Garden to usher “Bio-happiness”: Prof. M. S. Swaminathan

The message from Professor M.S Swaminathan highlighted on achieving the vision of ‘Bio-happiness’ integrating agriculture, nutrition and health, to resolve the increasing pressure on natural habitat in an era of climate change. He mentioned this as an important addition in the pool of scientific capability deals with emerging problems, new demands and focus on biofortification for agricultural remedies.  It will be a source of education, training, capacity building and aid numerous practical purposes as culinary diversity, curative diversity and cultural diversity.
While welcoming the gathering, Dr. K. K. Narayanan, the Chairman of MSSBG- Advisory Committee advocated for expanding the scope of the Garden to include plant diversity of all forms from all ecosystems-coastal to hill and dry regions.
Dr. Madhura Swaminathan, Chairperson, MSSRF who presided over the function stated on the necessity of a new growth phase and shape for the Botanical garden. She said that the new Garden will be developed as a distinct programme unit of MSSRF.
The Community Agrobiodiversity Centre will function as the extended arm of the new Garden with focus on the social and cultural dimensions of the developmental interventions. These two units will be brought under one larger operational programme. In a separate session, she elaborated on the scope and future development plan of the Garden.

Dr. Sarada Krishnan, Director of Horticulture and the Centre for Global Initiatives at Denver Botanic Gardens who gave the key note speech on ‘the role of botanical garden in the conservation of biodiversity.

In the launch address Shri. M.I Shanavas M.P specified the immense contribution of CAbC in conservation of biodiversity and use of modern science in agriculture and rural development should be held in esteem and wished the Garden to grow with many core competencies and features.

Scope of the new MSSBG

The new phase will focus on three strategic intervention areas viz., (i) Plant Science: by consolidating and concentrating on the results from evidence-based studies conducted in the disciplines of systematic botany, economic botany, ethno-botany and phyto-chemistry from  different regions of the Ghats, particularly on the biodiversity and centres of plant diversity; (ii) Education: including capacity development of multi-stakeholders by strengthening of in-situ, ex-situ and Farmer Gene Bank networks that promote conservation, enhancement, and sustainable and equitable use of biodiversity; and (iii) Recreation: by facilitating partnership between public and scientists working on different aspects (socio-economic, technical and technological) of biodiversity management for the larger purpose of using plant diversity to improve human-well being

Dr. Anil Kumar, who leads MSSRF’s biodiversity conservation programme, deciphered the value of whole concept of botanical garden for the pensiveness of the community and plant scientists. Smt. Umaiba Moideenkutty the Chairperson of Kalpetta Municipality unveiled the portrait in memory of Late A. Ratnam Swami, the First Chairman of Management Advisory Committee, MSSRF-CAbC.

Shri. P.P. Ali,Vice Chairman, Kalpetta Municipality, Shri. Nasar P. M, President(Panchayath presidents association of Wayanad), Smt. A Devaki, Jilla Panchayat Standing Committee Chairperson, Smt. Bindu Jose, Chairperson, Standing Committee of Kalpetta Municipality and Shri. V. Haris, Councillor, Kalpetta Municipality extended their felicitations in the event.In addition to them the farmers, the officials and the scientific community wereactively involved in the event.

Smt. Umaiba Moideenkutty mentioned on the necessity of conservationof native flora and fauna and strengthening itfrom severe threats of natural calamities and human interventions.
The message from shri. C.K. Saseendran, MLA, Kalpetta constituency mentioned on the severe climate change and its negative impacts. The initiative that Government of Kerala has been taken to declare the district as Carbon Neutral and specified that the activities of MSSRF in this regard is significant.

A Round table to brainstorm the scope and limitations of MSSBG

Subsequently, a round table discussion was organized on ‘the role of botanical garden in the biodiversity conservation” moderated by Dr. K. K Narayanan. Dr. V. Balakrishnan, Head, CAbC MSSRF, acknowledged everyone who participated in the event.