The South India Times Bureau Special Correspondent , Hyderabad, April 7: “Telangana State is promoting horticulture in a massive way by extending financial assistance to the poly houses and other initiatives. It is for the farmers and other entrepreneurs to rise to the occasion and reap benefits in the sector,” said Governor Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan. Delivering the Chancellor’s address at the first Convocation of the Sri Konda Laxman Telangana State Horticultural University in a virtual mode from Raj Nivas in Puducherry on Wednesday, Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan said that the promotion of horticulture in a big way was vital to achieve the goal of doubling the farmers’ income in the years to come. “There is an immense potential for the growth of horticulture in our country. Country is steadily emerging as the horticulture hub of the world and has come to be known as the ‘fruit and vegetable basket of the world’. Horticulture is going to be a major driver of growth in the years to come,” she added. Exhorting the graduating horticulture students to contribute their knowledge and expertise in exploring and promoting the horticulture and help the farmers gain the benefits, the Governor emphasized on the importance of growing fruits, vegetables and flower plants in a massive way and advised the people to set up kitchen gardens or roof gardens and make use of all the available land in their backyards to grow them. “In Raj Bhavan, our efforts to grow the fruit-bearing trees in a big way are now bearing fruits,” she added. The Governor pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic had once again highlighted the need to protect nature and the consumption of healthy foods like vegetables and fruits in plenty to boost immunity. The Governor virtually presented convocation degrees, including 16 doctoral degrees, to a total of 529 students on the occasion of the university’s first convocation. The Governor, who is also the Chancellor of the university, congratulated the graduating students and motivated them to make a mark of their own in the field of horticulture.