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Fair draws crowds in hordes

Last updated: 11 November, 2011
Bangalore, Nov 11, DHNS: 1:36 IST

Crowds thronged the Bangalore Palace Grounds in big numbers on Day Two of Bio Fach India, the ongoing international trade fair.

Although it was a week day, visitors made a beeline for the 120-plus counters that have kept the fair abuzz.

The fair has attracted participation from 13 states. Of the global participants, Germany has set up over 13 different counters showcasing the best organic goods from back home.

‘Fascinating’ is how Dr Ingo Braune from the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection described the counters set up by Karnataka.

“In Germany, we have just around three-four varieties of rice, but here there are over 40 varieties. India is very strong in terms of organic farming and Germany is looking forward to learn and collaborate for future endeavours,” he said.

Austria has its presence with a counter on organic tea made of Aronia, Ginger and Acai Agave, a drink the Austrians say is a ‘holistic natural refreshment’. The Netherlands is the other country from Europe participating in the fair.

The Indian organic counters have put up a wide variety of grains, pulses, spices and vegetable dyes. Herbal Fab, an Ahmedabad-based company dealing with vegetable dyeing on organic cotton clothes, was one of them. This firm uses extracts from pomegranate peels to rock salt to dye clothes and caters to a huge demand in its hometown. New in the organic product business is Asafran Skincare, which has showcased a wide variety of products including aroma facial oils for all kinds of skins.

Another counter that had the crowd’s attention was the one by Sresta Natural Bioproducts from Secunderabad. Siva Sankara Prasad Yadla from Sresta said Andhra Pradesh was slowly moving towards organic farming, but states like Karnataka and Maharastra had much more for organic farmers. Lumiere, a Kerala-based firm, has put up a food court at the fair serving Indian cuisines including fruit and vegetable juices.

Although the concept of organic farming started not less than a decade ago in Karnataka, it is an 18-year-old process for Morarka Organic Foods. This organisation offered solutions for sustainable agriculture to the farmers of Rajasthan. “Lack of availability of water compelled us to start organic farming in the state which requires less water compared to what is required for crops grown using urea,” said Sunil Kumar from Morarka. He said that normally for a land to be certified as organic field, one has to leave the land uncultivated for three years which most of the farmers are not ready to do.

Talking about the organic farming scenario in Karnataka, Dinesh Bhatia from Morarka said that there is no concrete ‘buy-back arrangement’ made by the Karnataka government for the farmers to sell what they have grown. “There is a need to create a market for organic goods and it is very important for the State government to play a crucial role in setting up such entities for farmers,” he added.

Morarka also has a ‘down to earth’ organic store and the company has over two lakh farmers in various states contributing to them. Even Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda tasted one of their ragi biscuits. He has invited Morarka to hold a meeting in December.

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