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Taking organic food closer to people

Last Updated : 01 August 2021, 03:23 IST
Last Updated : 01 August 2021, 03:23 IST

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The 'Saavayava Santhe' or organic market held every Saturday at Taralabalu Krishi Vijnana Kendra in Davangere. Photo courtesy: Taralabalu KVK
The 'Saavayava Santhe' or organic market held every Saturday at Taralabalu Krishi Vijnana Kendra in Davangere. Photo courtesy: Taralabalu KVK
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The 'Saavayava Santhe' or organic market held every Saturday at Taralabalu Krishi Vijnana Kendra in Davangere. Photo courtesy: Taralabalu KVK
The 'Saavayava Santhe' or organic market held every Saturday at Taralabalu Krishi Vijnana Kendra in Davangere. Photo courtesy: Taralabalu KVK

With an increase in lifestyle-related diseases in the last decade, more people became increasingly conscious about healthy and chemical-free food. To cater to the demand, many farmers took to organic and chemical-free farming. However, consumers often found it difficult to get genuine organic foods and farmers faced the menace of middlemen interference. To address these issues, Taralabalu Krishi Vijnana Kendra (KVK) of Davangere came up with a plan.

It began organising 'Saavayava Santhe' or organic market every week to directly connect the farmers and consumers, and promote organic food. Nine years down the line, this unique weekly market has regular customers who are not only satisfied with the organic products sold here but also feel it is worth their money.

The KVK has listed around 40 organic farmers in Davangere district, and some eight of them have registered with the institute. Every Saturday, these registered farmers get organically grown vegetables, fruits, cooking oil and rice to this market held in the premises of the KVK in Swami Vivekananda Layout in Davangere and consumers just walk in to buy them.

Also, consumers do not suspect the quality of the products sold here as they are 'certified' by the officials of Krishi Vijnana Kendra.

Worth the money

Aanjaneya A N, who grows around 16 heirloom paddy varieties in organic method at Kumbaluru near Malebennur in Davangere district is a regular seller at the market. He has rice varieties like Andanuru Sanna, Sidda Sanna, Sinduramogasale, Doddabyranellu, Chinnaponni and others.

"Consumption of organically-grown rice is highly beneficial for health and it is a proven fact. I have varieties of rice that help manage different health conditions. So, people prefer to buy rice from me," he says.

He adds that the price of the rice grown organically is slightly expensive than conventional rice but people who are aware of the importance of organic farming do not mind paying a little extra.

Chandrakanth, an electrician from Davangere, accepts that his health has improved after consuming organic rice. "I am a diabetic patient and certain varieties of rice I get here help me in managing sugar levels."

He felt that it was time more people realised the benefits of having chemical-free and diverse food on their plates. "I am not a wealthy man. Though I shell out more to buy this rice, it minimises my health expenses," he explains.

He said even vegetables sold at the Saavayava Santhe are free from chemicals and they are unlikely to cause health disorders.

From farm to market

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Taralabalu Krishi Vijnana Kendra senior scientist and head Devaraj T N said, "We do not want to create unhealthy competition among organic cultivators. So, we are providing a platform for farmers specialised in diverse organic products like rice, fruits, vegetables, cooking oil and those who have prepared organic value-added products like the juice made up of wood apple."

He added that the main objective of the market is to transform farmers into entrepreneurs and help consumers get genuine products. "More number of farmers and consumers must come together to make the weekly market a huge success," he said.

Prof Shashikumar G M of College of Dental Sciences in Davangere, who also swears by organic products, said that he switched over to organic rice five years back and has experienced health benefits from it.

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Published 31 July 2021, 09:03 IST

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