Organic trade fairs in all city corporations

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BANGALORE, November 15:  Minister of State for Agriculture Krishna Byre Gowda on Thursday said the government would organise small organic trade fairs at all city corporations in the State to create awareness among people about the health benefits of organic products.

Inaugurating the fifth edition of the three-day international organic trade fair titled “BioFach India together with India Organic 2013” being organised jointly by Nuremberg Messe India Private Limited, International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (ICCOA) and the Karnataka State Agriculture Department at the Palace Grounds, Mr. Gowda said such a step was being taken mainly to create a market potential for organic produce.

“The sustenance of organic farming and its expansion depends on the market. Market potential can be created only by educating people on the benefits of organic produce. It is in this context that the State government decided to hold micro-level organic fairs at different city corporations,” he said.

The government had adopted a twin-pronged strategy of promoting organic agriculture on the one hand, and making efforts to create market potential on the other, he pointed out.

To promote organic agriculture, Rs. 100 crore had been earmarked in the State budget to encourage farmers to take up organic farming at least on 100 acres of land in each of the 750 hoblis under the Saavayava Bhagya scheme, he noted.

Union Minister of State for Agriculture Tariq Anwar said the area under certified organic farming in India increased from 42,000 hectares in 2003-04 to 4.5 million hectares by 2010. Of this, 1.1 million hectare was a cultivated area while the remaining 3.4 million hectares was wild forest harvest collection area. Eleven States had drafted policies for organic farming, of which three had declared their intention to switch over to organic completely. Similarly, the country had exported organic products worth Rs. 839 crore in 2011-12, he said.

ICCOA Executive Director Manoj Kumar Menon said it was the third time that Bangalore was hosting this international event. He said the trade delegations from Europe, U.S. and various other countries were participating in the fair that is showcasing an international exhibition on organic products and an international conference with various aspects related to organic farming.

IFOAM vice-president Rajashekhar Reddy appealed to the government to extend the subsidy facilities being given to conventional farming to organic farming also so that the sector could grow.

State Agriculture Department Director Dharmarajan, Nuremberg Messe India Private Limited Managing Director Sonia Prashar, Bangalore North MP D. B. Chandre Gowda, MLA R. Roshan Baig, Germany’s Consul general for Bangalore Joern Rohde and IFOAM Asia President Suh Chong Hyuk were present.

Three-day international organic trade fair BioFach-2013 begins at Bangalore Palace Grounds.

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