Humble millet meets grand welcome at international fair

Last Updated 19 January 2018, 19:40 IST

 For Subhas S Hosangadi, a 60-year-old farmer from Gadag, the sight at the Organics and Millets 2018 was awe-inspiring. The International Trade Fair's display of a variety of millets at numerous stalls was impressive according to  Hosangadi.

The fair began on Friday at the Palace Grounds.

While enquiring about a particular millet at a counter, he said,"This is huge. There are several things that I do not know about."

I have a 20-acre land which grows onion, chilli, groundnut and green gram, said Subash.

He said that 60% of farmers from his village, Belavanaki, do not use fertilisers.

"These farmers need to be educated that with the use of fertilisers, the yield is increased and the soil quality is sustained," he said. Hosangadi added that the international millet festival has presented new opportunities to farmers like him.

The fair inaugurated by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday, witnessed over 300 stalls of millets, traditional grains and organics among others from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Meghalaya, Uttarakhand, Haryana, and Chhattisgarh.

A group of women farmers from four villages in Vikarabad, 70 km from Hyderabad exhibited a certain variety of millets. Among their other products, the safflower oil was a major source of attraction.

"We have not seen anything like this before," said Shobha Rani, one of the women farmers.

While speaking about the group of women, Anil Kumar, a member of a team which supports small communities like the women's said that it is always better to empower women through farming as the money goes directly to them.

He added that if the money is with the men, they might spend it on drinking, while the women are far more responsible.

The fair also witnessed international delegates and buyers from a range of countries including USA, Germany, Switzerland, UAE, South Korea, Uganda, China and Malaysia among others.

"I think India needs to grow in the field of marketing. There needs to be a fair price so that the farmers benefit out of it," said, Zhou Zejiang, president, IFOAM, Organics International-Asia (Global organisation for organics).

In his inaugural speech, the chief minister said: "It is important for us to raise awareness and promote millets as they have a high nutritional value and easy to cultivate. We are a dry agriculture state and over the last 17 years only three years were drought free."

(Published 19 January 2018, 18:54 IST)

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