The 15-day Women of India Organic Festival organised by Ministry of Women & Child Development came to a close on 15th October, 2017. The festival was organised at Dilli Haat, INA, New Delhi as the largest festival of organic products by women farmers and producers. The festival has now become an annual event and offers for sale most varied range of organic products including food, kitchen products, spices, pure fabric to wellness, personal care among others.
The total sales by the women farmers and entrepreneurs who came from 25 States was Rs.1.84 crore this year in the festival. Women participated from as far as Ladakh, Manipur, Sikkim and Pudduchery alongwith other states of the country. The festival saw footfall of around 2.35 lakh visitors.
The major objectives of the festival were to support and encourage women and women-led groups that promote organic farming, thus supporting their local community’s economy, creating jobs and keeping farmers thriving, in addition to spreading proper awareness about the benefits of organic products.
Describing her experience, Damyanti Devi, a participating farmer from Uttarakhand said, “We are so happy that the Government has given us an opportunity to sell our merchandise in Delhi. We had to procure merchandise twice over as we sold our initial goods in less than a week. This monetary benefit would certainly help in my daughter’s further education.”
Another participant in the festival, Thokcham Sonalika Devi, a farmer from Manipur shared her experience, “We would like to thank the Ministry of Women and Child Development for organising the festival and also giving us the chance to display our Chakhao black rice of Manipur, which was a total novelty for the people of Delhi. We also got many bulk orders for our products and hope to participate in many such festivals organised by the Ministry in the future too.”
The participants in the festival also enrolled themselves in Mahila E-Haat, another initiative of the Ministry to meet the aspirations and needs of women entrepreneurs. The e-platform exponentially strengthens the socio-economic empowerment of women beyond the festival.
The festival was inaugurated at Dilli Haat, INA by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi and Minister of State, Dr. Virender Kumar on 1st October, 2017.
While emphasising on the importance of going the organic way, Gandhi had said while her inauguration speech, “Organic food has been proven to contain far more vitamins, minerals and nutrients than similar foods produced with chemical fertilisers, pesticides and preservatives. Economically too, organic farming is preferable since it ultimately reduces cost of cultivation by 20-40% and increases the incomes of farmers by improving quality of production as well as the quality of soil. Above all, children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of pesticide exposure. Now with the affordability factor coming into organic produce, we should make a concerted effort to promote this sustainable alternative, thereby boosting the financial well-being of farmers as well as the health and longevity of consumers especially children.”