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Varsity forays into business

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 23: Think again if you thought that universities were just about books, classes and projects.

The Centurion University on Tuesday ventured into “lab-to-land” and “land-to-lab” business with the launch of a high-end plant for extraction of oils and flavours.

The supercritical fluid Co2 extraction plant set up at Parlekhamundi will extract oils and flavours from raw organic spices, herbs and flowers.

The plant will train tribal farmers from the districts of Koraput, Kandhamal and Gajapati and extract spices such as ginger, turmeric, black pepper, clove and fragrance extract from kewda.

“The initiative is designed to develop local skills, produce market linked products and connect 5,000 tribal farmers of Odisha with the market of nutrition and pharmaceuticals,” said Mukti Mishra, chairman, Centurion University.

Launched as part of its social entrepreneurship outreach programme — Gram Tarang — the unit would also provide a research opportunity for students and teachers of the varsity leading to new product development in the agriculture and horticulture sector, said Mishra.

“The orientation of the varsity is on hands-on knowledge, experience-based learning, practice-linked education and lab-to-land and land-to-lab and setting up of the plant is a step in this direction,” he said.

For the ambitious venture, the varsity has already signed a contract for 100 acres of land for ginger farming in Buguda. The plant would begin with locally available plants in the southern region of Odisha for extraction and slowly move on to extraction of jasmine, lotus, vetiver, sandalwood, ashwagandha, amla, brahmi, turmeric, coffee and cocoa.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the plant.