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Karnataka agri dept to host national trade fair to give millets fillip
Monday, 20 March, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
To give millets and organic farming a boost, Karnataka’s agriculture department will host the National Trade Fair - Organics and Millets - 2017 at Bengaluru’s Palace Grounds between April 28 and 30.
The event will be co-organised by Karnataka State Agricultural Produce Processing and Export Corporation Ltd (KAPPEC), and the International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (ICCOA) will be its knowledge partner.
There will be a conference, the theme of which will be Organics beyond Agriculture and Improving Access to Markets.
Inter-personal meetings will be the focus of the event, where organic stakeholders, policy-makers, the government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will meet to discuss and network.
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah will inaugurate the fair in the presence of Radha Mohan Singh, union minister for agriculture and Krishna Byre Gowda, Karnataka’s agriculture minister.
The trade fair will enable the exchange of expertise and knowledge. It will provide Karnataka and other states an opportunity to showcase their organic wealth, diversity and the overall competence of farmers and farming groups.
Over 10,000 visitors, including the trading community, farmers and the general public, will converge on this showpiece event.
One of the highlights of the event is an exhibition, in which leading companies involved in the organic agri business will participate.
Bengaluru was the first city to be recognised as a hub for organic agriculture and agri-business. It has the largest number of organic retail chains, and is known for attracting buyers and visitors from the organic sector, not just from Karnataka, but from across India and the world.
The business-to-business (B2B) meet will provide an important linkage with the farmers’ groups. There will be a special workshop, at which sessions will be conducted in Kannada for the benefit of farmers from the state.
Other highlights include organic awareness programmes, which will focus on the relevance to food safety, health and the environment; a cooking competition for home-makers, a demonstration of various ways of cooking millets (the forgotten foods), free consultation on health by dietitians and a food court, which will offer the visitors healthy organic delicacies from across Karnataka on the three days of the event.
Millets are considered to have been cultivated in India since pre-historic times. It is cultivated in an area of about 30 million acres in India, requires 70 per cent less water than rice and does not require pesticides. These low-cost crops can be cultivated on marginal lands with low rainfall. Moreover, the nutritional and health benefits of millets have created a surge in their demand.
“Our government is promoting organic farming programmes in a big way. It has a dedicated policy on organic farming. Several programmes have been initiated to address the issues, paving the way for sustainable food production, improvement in soil health, conservation of natural resources, promotion of rural development and mitigation of drought condition,” said Gowda.
“The Organic Village Programme was initiated with a cluster approach at the district level initially, and was later extended to the taluk level. At present, the Hobli-level Savayava Bhagya Yojane, a mega programme, is being implemented throughout the state since 2013-14,” he added.
The government of the southern state is also expected to provide a systematic market for its organic produce through fourteen regional federations of organic farmers’ associations.
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