Long wait for orchid man of WKH

Charles Tympuin wants govt help to get central licence for orchidarium with 300 species

By Ronald Syiem
Orchid lover Charles Tympuin of Nonglwai in West Khasi Hills has been collecting orchid for more than 10 years and his poly house has as many as 300 varieties.
Speaking to The Shillong Times, Charles Tympuin said he started collecting orchids in 2008 because people from outside the state came to his village to buy them for Rs 1,500 per kg. However, he stopped selling them after he found out that they would become extinct. He formed a society called Nonglwai Orchid Preservation Society with the objective of collecting and preserving indigenous orchids.
Tympuin informed that after collecting and conserving orchids in four poly houses for more than seven years, the society in 2017 received Plant Genome Saviour Community Award in Motihari, East Champaran, Bihar.
Former Union Minister of Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh handed over the award.
He said the society has participated in many flower shows in the district and outside the state.
Tympuin constructed the orchidarium in 2017 and with 300 orchid varieties, he plans to inaugurate the orhidarium after he gets the licence.
Tympuin said he was concerned about orchids becoming extinct due to the burning of forest for charcoal.
However, he expressed happiness over the fact that more than five extinct orchids are thriving in his poly house.
“Preservation of orchids is a difficult task without government support,” he said.
Among the 300 orchids, only 90 have scientific names. “Giving local names to the nameless orchids has become difficult as farmers from other states took away a few and named them in their own dialects,” he added.
As a farmer who conserves orchids, he faces a lot of difficulties as he is deprived of support from the concerned government department, he said.
Tympuin said the department had refused to renew his licence to conserve orchids a year after he received the award.
After studying the orchid market, Tympuin said the price is high when orchids are transported to other countries.
In order to avail the licence for marketing, the Society will have to register five orchid plants with their names at the National Research Centre for Orchid, Sikkim, and the Centre after conducting tests will send the data to Protection Variety and Farmer Right Authority, New Delhi, which is the licencing authority.
In 2017, Tympuin had sent five orchid plants as instructed by the Centre to Sikkim but they failed the test.
However, with the help of the government department concerned and the district administration, the Society will send samples again.
“In June, I tried to convince the horticulture department, the district administration of West Khasi Hills and also the wildlife department in Shillong to support and send the orchid plants to Sikkim but nobody helped me,” Tympuin said.
He added that he is willing to go alone after he fixes an appointment in September.
Tympuin hoped that after getting licence from the Protection of Variety and Farmer Right Authority, Delhi the orchids will become agriculture products and there will not be any restriction to plant them.
Though Tympuin and his Society did not get any financial support from the state government it did not deter him from carrying on with his mission to conserve the orchids from extinction.
The horticulture department has provided the frame of poly house but he needs urgent help for testing the wild orchids to facilitate their multiplication that will prevent their extinction.
In June this year, a first of its kind orchidarium was opened in Upper Shillong that will be maintained and managed by Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), an autonomous institute of Department of Biotechnology under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The orchidarium is unique and only one of its kind in the country having climate-controlled system and displays several species of orchids, Prof Dinabandhu Sahoo, Director IBSD, said recently in a press release.
IBSD is promoting orchid based bio-entrepreneurship to strengthen the bio-economy of the region as a flagship programme.
Prof Sahoo informed the media people that the estimated global trade of floriculture is $80 billion and India shares a very low pie of this stake holding a meagre 0.6 per cent of the total floriculture exports. The Indian Floriculture market was worth Rs 13 billion in 2017 and it is further projected to reach Rs 394 billion by 2023, at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 20 per cent during 2018-2023, he added.
IBSD has also come with construction of Tree house and Bamboo house in the premises of the Orchidarium to attract tourists.

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