Get ready to be seduced by organics

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The annual Organics and Millets International Trade Fair is being held at Palace Grounds this weekend starting January 18. Around 400 booths, 220 exhibitors, 23 food courts will showcase the natural and rich fibre foods. Ten states across India and organisations from seven foreign countries are also expected to participate.

Karnataka’s Agriculture Minister N. H. Shivashankara Reddy, said, “The three day Organics and Millets International Trade Fair 2019, which will be inaugurated on 18th January 2019 will be the biggest of its kind that has ever been organized. This is a classic example of the Government’s push towards organics and millets. This event is a great initiative that will help spread the message of how millets are good for us, good for our farmers and good for the planet. Until a few decades ago, millets had been a staple food in several parts of Karnataka but with exposure to western culture these super grains have gradually been removed from mainstream consumption. However, over the last few years we are witnessing a comeback of millets and with health awareness spreading across urban areas, there is a rising demand for millets.”

The Organics and Millets International Trade Fair 2019 will have a total number of 400 booths including 220 exhibitors participating from ten states across the country and 23 food courts making it a total of 243 exhibitors. States include Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Manipur, Kerala and Telangana. There will be international participation from seven countries including Chile, Poland, Sri Lanka, Burkina Faso, UAE, IFOAM, Germany and FIBL, Switzerland.

Around 16 startup firms are also expected to participate. There will also be machinery displays. Dignitaries from various national and international institutions and universities will take part in in-depth deliberations on various topics and issues surrounding organics and millets.

“Farmers in Karnataka are often faced with deficient rainfall and face difficulty in growing crops. Many farmers opt for rice cultivation as there is high demand for rice. If we compare millets to rice, millets require almost 70% less water, no pesticides and minimal or no chemical fertilizers making them the most environment friendly crop. The area under organic cultivation has registered a steady growth in the State increasing from 2500 hectares to 100,000 hectares as on date. The Government’s aim is to increase this to around 1.5 lakh hectares in the coming three years. In order to help farmers market their produce effectively, the Government has formed fifteen regional organic federations through which organics and millets processing and marketing activities are taken up. These efforts will in turn result in an increase in cultivated area for organics and millets and is to develop an organized market and to popularize organics and millets as ‘Super Foods’” said Dr. K G Jagadeesha, Commissioner of Agriculture.

“Organics and Millets International Trade Fair 2019 is poised to become the biggest event in India that provides a professional platform for the organic sector and the millets community to meet, learn and do business. One of the major attractions would be the Karnataka pavilion which will showcase 60 booths where organic and millet farmer’s federations, FPOs and groups of the state will participate. Overall, there will be around 400 booth exhibition space” said Manoj Menon, Executive Director, International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (ICCOA), knowledge partner for the Organics and Millets International Trade Fair 2019.

One of the prime focus areas of the Organics and Millets International Trade Fair 2019 would be the B2B sessions that will be organized on all the three days. About 100 domestic buyers have registered for B2B meetings. Around 85 farmer groups representing 15 regional federations, FPOs and other farmer groups have registered for the event. There will also be a Farmers Workshop in Kannada on all the three days. Spread over 4 sessions, with 29 speakers, the farmer’s workshop includes three doctors who would speak about the health benefits of organics and millets. Topics discussed would include ‘Current status and Production Technologies of Organics and Millets’, ‘Organics, Millets Registration, Certification and Value Addition’, ‘Experience sharing by entrepreneurs in promotion of Organics and Millets’ and ‘Expert Doctors Experiences’. There will also be a separate International Conference which will be conducted for organics and millets which will witness over 42 speakers from over 6 countries delivering lectures on organics and millets respectively.

Additionally, there will be a Millet Cooked Product Display Challenge in two categories, savoury and baked products. The winners in each of the categories will take home cash prizes of Rs. 10,000, 8,000 and 6,000 for the first, second and third prizes respectively. All participants will be given participation certificates.

Seven teams shortlisted at the previously held ‘Smart Food Culinary Challenge’ will compete at the venue in a grand finale. An on-the-spot drawing competition for children in two categories: between the age group of 5 and 8 and 9 to 16 years to create awareness about the importance and benefits of organics and millets will also be organized.

Entry for the Organics and Millets International Trade Fair 2019 is free.

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