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Karnataka to widen value-added product offerings at Organics Intl Fair
Thursday, 17 January, 2019, 16 : 00 PM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
The Government of Karnataka is working to ensure that the state widens its value-added food product offerings through the three-day Organics and Millets International Trade Fair, which will take place at Palace Grounds, Bengaluru, from January 18 to 20, 2019.

At the pre-event press briefing, state agriculture minister N H Shivashankara Reddy said that the event was an initiative to spread the message of the health benefits of organic foods and  millets.

“Until a few decades ago, millets were a staple diet in several parts of Karnataka, but with exposure to western culture, these super grains have gradually been removed from mainstream consumption,” he added.

“However, over the last few years, we are witnessing the comeback of millets, and with health awareness spreading across urban areas, there is a rising demand for millets,” Reddy said.

The Organics and Millets International Trade Fair 2019 will have a total of 400 booths, including 220 exhibitors participating from 10 states across the country, and 23 food courts, making it a total of 243 exhibitors.

While the states include Chattisgarh, 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, the United Arab Emirates, IFOAM, Germany and FIBL, Switzerland.

Sixteen start-up firms will also participate. There will also be five 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 per cent less water, no pesticides and minimal or no chemical fertilisers, making them the most environment-friendly crop,” said K G Jagadeesha, commissioner of agriculture, Department of Agriculture, Government of Karnataka.

“The area under organic cultivation has registered a steady growth in the state, increasing from 2,500 hectare to 1,00,000 hectare as on date. The government’s aim is to increase this to about 1.5 lakh hectare in the coming three years,” he added.

“In order to help farmers market their produce effectively, the government has formed 15 regional organic federations through which organics and millets processing and marketing activities are taken up,” Jagadeesha said.

“These efforts will, in turn, result in an increase in the cultivated area for organics and millets and develop an organised market and to populariae organics and millets as super foods,” he added.
 
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