It will be raining pomegranates at Lalbagh Botanical Gardens from September 28 when the first ever Pomegranate Market Mela and exhibition gets underway.
Lalbagh Horticulture Department, in its attempt to provide a platform for pomegranate growers to sell their produce to consumers directly, has organised the event which will go on till October 6.
Briefing reporters, Lalbagh Horticulture Department Director D L Maheswar said about 95 per cent of pomegranate grown in Karnataka is under the variety ’Bhagwa’ and hence, fruits of that variety will be on sale and display. The price of the produce being sold at the fair will be 10 to 15 per cent lower than the market rate.
More than 35 farmers from Chitradurga, Bellary, Raichur, Chamrajanagar and other districts will showcase their produce. “We are also chalking out a plan to sell the fruit during the event through mobile vans,” he said.
The exhibition has been organised in association with the Karnataka State Agriculture Marketing Department, Karnataka State Horticulture Federation, Hopcoms, IIHR, University of Horticulture Sciences, Karnataka State Agriculture Produce Processing and Export Corporation Limited, National Horticulture Board (NHB), etc.
“As many as 40 sales outlets will be set up in and around Lalbagh for sale of pomegranates. We are expecting to sell around 150 to 200 metric tonne of pomegranate during the nine-day event. On October 5, there will be a farmers-traders meet to boost the sale of produce and aid the growers,” Additional Director of Horticulture and Executive Director, Karnataka State Horticulture Mission Agency, R Jayaprakash said.
In Karnataka, pomegranate is cultivated in an area of 14,649 hectare with annual production of 1,45,914 MT. To create awareness among visitors, pamphlets details health benefits of the fruit will be distributed at the event.
Horticulture and Agriculture Marketing Minister Shamanur Shivashankarappa will inaugurate the event on Saturday at 12.30 pm. There will be no any separate entry fee except the entry fee to Lalbagh Gardens (Rs 10 for adults).
There will be no entry fee for children aged 12 years and below. Mela timings is from 9 am to 6 pm on all days.
Horticulture Department officials said last year, production of pomegranates in Karnataka was over two lakh MT and this time it has doubled.
“Totally about 3.47 lakh MT is produced till date, for this year. Apart from regular pomegranate growing districts such as Koppal, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Tumkur, Raichur, Mandya and others, we have Chitradurga for the first time growing pomegranate, Devaraj, Deputy Director of Horticulture, Chitradurga, said. Devaraj said. “About 6000 farmers are involved in pomegranate production in Chitradurga and we are expecting more than 20 farmers to take part in the mela,” he added.