Millets & Organics 2023 – International Trade Fair kicked off in Thripuravasini, Bengaluru today. The 3-day event was divided into multiple segments including an exhibition, pavilion, B2B networking and much more.
The trade fair is a platform for farmers, farmer groups, domestic and international companies, Central and state institutions in the organic and millet sector to connect and explore opportunities in agriculture, horticulture, food processing, machinery and agri-technology. The Government of Karnataka has been a leader in the promotion of millets – The first Millets and Organics Fair was held in 2017, and the second and third editions in 2018 and 2019 in Bengaluru.
The inauguration of the international conference was done by Shobha Karandlaje, Union Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare. In her address to the farmers and other participants, she called for the cultivation of quality millets with optimal use of pesticides that can be taken to international platforms which would help them in gaining competitive prices for their produce. The Government’s commitment to increasing farmers’ income can be seen through a significant rise, witnessed in agriculture exports.
Kailash Choudhary, Union Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare in his address highlighted that the country is focused on developing 10,000 farmer producer organisations FPOs and aiding farmers in setting up sorting and grading units, along with the production of value-added products which are export ready. He emphasised that consumption of millets is the solution to malnutrition, which will also benefit farmers to get a better livelihood and increased income.
Shubha Thakur, Joint Secretary (Crops), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare appreciated the model of Karnataka in millet promotion. She said, “Karnataka has been distributing millet grains through the PDS system, organising district-wise Kisan melas. Further to that, farmers in Karnataka have helped boost food production, especially during the Covid pandemic, by cultivating millets.” She also added that, in the coming year, National Food Security Mission (NFSM) programme will be reconstituted to the National Food and Nutrition Security Mission, paving the way for millets to reach the global forum.
Some of the key highlights from the fair included more than 250 stalls, a millet and organic food court, buyer-seller meets, an international expo and conference, consumer connect, farmers’ workshop, cooking, drawing and quiz competitions, and demonstration of millet recipes, among others. The key products on display during the fair were millets, organics and natural range, certified wild harvest produce, millet processing machinery, organic cereals and pulses, bio-degradable packaging and eco-friendly products.
With the aim to generate mass awareness, increase production, productivity and strengthen the value chain towards promoting ‘golden grain’ millets as the avenue to food and nutritional security, accepting the Government of India’s proposal, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYM) – 2023. The declaration has been instrumental for the Government of India to be at the forefront of celebrating the IYM2023 in a grand manner.
Being grown in more than 130 countries, currently, millets are considered traditional food for more than half a billion people across Asia and Africa. In India, millets are primarily a Kharif crop, requiring less water and agricultural inputs than other similar staples. Millets are important by the virtue of their mammoth potential to generate livelihood, increase farmers’ income, and ensure food and nutritional security all over the world.
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