20 August, Thimphu: The National Citrus Program, Department of Agriculture, is pleased to bring out the first edition of the publication titled “Citrus Nursery Management – A Technical Guide.” The manual was put together in collaboration with Research & Development Centre (RDC-Bajo) with inputs from several associated agencies. Kinley Dorji (Sr Research Officer, RDC-Bajo) and Lakey (Dy. Chief Horticulture Officer who is also the Coordinator for National Citrus Program) co-authored the book. The Department hopes to make available the publication in print copies soon with financial assistance from the ACIAR Project. A second and revised edition is expected in the coming year.
Citrus is a very important export commodity for Bhutan, but fruit production has declined due to poor orchard management and the impact of significant pests and diseases. Major diseases of citrus include
Huanglongbing (HLB) (also known as greening disease), powdery mildew and viral diseases such as strains of Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) and Citrus exocortis viroids, etc.
One of the approaches widely used to combat citrus HLB and other diseases is the production of high quality disease-free seedlings in enclosed nursery structures. The Department of Agriculture has accorded high priority to the development of citrus nursery. Nursery production capacity at the National Seed Centre (NSC) has been enhanced substantially, both in terms of infrastructure and production technology. However, the NSC depends on the RDCs for budwood. The department has set up the National Citrus Repository at the Research & Development Sub-center (RDSC) Tsirang. One of the objectives of the repository is to make available high-health status budwood from registered mother trees in the country in the coming years.
Since NSC-Bhur is the only commercial citrus nursery in the country, this manual would help nurserymen, researchers and upcoming nursery operators in better understanding the institutional mandates of different agencies, viz. Research & Development Centers (RDC), National Citrus Repository, National Seed Center (NSC), Bhutan Agriculture & Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) and the National Citrus Program, and their association vis-a-vis the process and protocol of a certification scheme.
The guide is prepared in cognizance of the present status of Bhutanese citrus industry and the state of citrus nurseries. The Department hopes this guide book would provide basic information on citrus nursery principles with special reference to record keeping and maintaining the traceability of propagation process.
– Citrus Program, Horticulture Division, Department of Agriculture
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