Government of Karnataka to host India’s first ‘National Trade Fair for Organics and Millets 2017’

New Delhi [India]: Department of Agriculture, Government of Karnataka in association with ICCOA will host ‘National Trade Fair – Organics and Millets-2017’ during April 28 to 30, 2017 at Palace Grounds, Bengaluru.

Karnataka State Agricultural Produce Processing and Export Corporation Ltd. (KAPPEC) is the co-organiser and International Competence Centre of Organic Agriculture (ICCOA) is the Knowledge Partner of this national event.

The fair will be inaugurated by Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah in the presence of the Minister for Agriculture (GoI) Radha Mohan Singh, Minister for Agriculture, GoK, Krishna Byre Gowda and other dignitaries.

The trade fair will be a common platform for networking besides exchanging expertise and knowledge. For Karnataka, it will provide an opportunity to show case its organic wealth, diversity and the overall competence of farmers/farming groups including from different states. Over 10,000 visitors across trading community, farmers and general public will converge on this showpiece event.

State Government had brought out a separate policy on organic farming during the year 2004. Since then, the State Agriculture department is promoting organic farming programs in a big way. Several programs have been initiated to address the issues and paving the way for sustainable food production, improving soil health, conserving natural resources, promoting rural development and mitigating drought condition.

‘Organic Village Program’ was initiated with cluster approach at district level initially, later on extended to taluk level. At present, Hobli level Savayava Bhagya Yojane, a mega program is being implemented throughout the state since 2013-14.

Millets are small seeded cereals and grains that are indigenous to India and African countries. Millets are considered to have been cultivated in India from pre-historic times. Their importance as food can be realised from the facts that millets are being cultivated in an area of about 30 million acres in India.

Millets require 70 percent less water than rice. They require no pesticides and minimal chemical fertilizers making them mostly organic and environment friendly. They are low cost crops and can be grown well eve in marginal lands, with low rainfall.

Millets are nutritional powerhouses high in proteins, dietary fiber, B complex vitamins, essential amino acids, folic acid and Vitamin E. They are particularly high in minerals such as Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Phosphorus, Zinc, Calcium and Potassium. The nutritional and health benefits of millets have created a surge in demand for a variety of millets.

Highlights of the Events

•The venue, Palace Ground is strategically located in the centre of the City with good connectivity. Bengaluru is the first city to be established as the main 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 all over India and the World.

•The event will have a hi-quality exhibition with participation from leading companies and state governments involved in organic agribusiness. It will accommodate producers exhibiting a wide range of organic products. It will also have Central / State Government pavilions and farmer groups who are in the process of organic certification through third party or PGS, fair trade and sustainability standards. Over 100 exhibitors will showcase their product range through this exhibition.

•B2B Meet provides an important linkage with the farmers’ groups and market. It will open the avenue of scopes in domestic markets to the farmers and Indian organic produces.

•”Organics beyond Agriculture and Improving access to Markets” conference will be held for three days from 28 to 30 April 2017. It will bring in eminent national speakers and delegates. It aims for a unique meeting place for all the organic stakeholders, policy makers, Government and non-government, where discussions, networking and inter-personal meetings will be the focus.

•Special workshop sessions in Kannada will be conducted for farmers from Karnataka. Experts on organic production and value-chains will address these sessions. The farmers will reap the benefit of this trade fair by understanding the Organic market trends, demand, certification process, export potential etc.; thus, understand both the technical as well as the commercial aspect of the organic agribusiness.

•Special activities will be held for the general public such as cooking competition for home-makers, demonstration of various ways of cooking Millets – the forgotten foods, free consultation on health by dieticians and nutritional experts. Special talk will be arranged by renowned dietician emphasising on the role of safe food.

•The Food Court will offer the visitors to taste healthy organic delicacies from across Karnataka on all the three days of the event.

To provide systematic market for organic produce of the State, 14 Regional Federations of organic farmers’ associations have been established in the State. Through federations it is proposed to take up collection, grading, value addition, processing, packing, brand development, marketing of organic produce, apart from consumer awareness program and other activities.

Through organic farmers federations, it is proposed to eliminate the middlemen in the marketing of organic produces thereby providing remunerative prices to organic farmers’ which would in turn improve the economic conditions of organic farmers due to remunerative price for their produce. (ANI)