3-day global trade fair on millets in Jan

3-day global trade fair on millets in Jan

Karnataka on Monday announced a three-day international trade fair on organic food and millets that will be held in January at Bengaluru, as part of the government's continued push for organic food production and consumption.

"While other states are also growing organic foods, Karnataka is the only one taking up the task of creating a market for these products. Our intention is to take organic and millet foods to the international market," Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said at a curtain-raiser event here.

Karnataka has been aggressively promoting organic foods for the last couple of years, the minister said. "Ragi, white corn (bili jola) and pearl millet (sajje) are being cultivated on 18 lakh hectares in the state. This will go up by 10-15% this year. Also, the area under cultivation of minor millets such as saame, baragu, navane and udalu has doubled from 20,000 to 40,000 hectares. All this is because of the government encouraging organic foods," Gowda said.

Gowda, however, admitted that the price of organics and millets were higher compared to other agricultural produce. "This is because the market for organic foods is small right now. If the market becomes bigger, which is what the government is trying to do, the prices will come down."

Last month, Karnataka made a strong pitch before the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to observe the international year of millets. "We have also demanded for an international day of millets. The state and the Centre will have to continue lobbying to ensure organic food products get recognised at a global level," he said.

The international trade fair, which will be held between January 19 and 21 at Bengaluru's Palace Grounds, will have over 350 stalls and provide a platform for farmers, buyers, sellers and exporters of organic produce and millets.

"Bengaluru has emerged as a big marketplace for organics and millets. The city has about 150 organics and millet outlets, of which more than 50 have come up in just the last one year. This shows the growing demand for these foods," Gowda said.

The minister also said the Centre was taking a cue from Karnataka on promoting organics and millets. "Looking at us, the Food and Agriculture ministries are launching schemes to promote organic foods. It's all because of Karnataka that organic foods are being discussed nationally and internationally," he claimed.

The minister also launched the official website for the Organics and Millets 2018 international trade fair - organics-millets.in

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