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Millet fair wows milling crowds

People, particularly farmers, came in large numbers in special buses from across the state to take part in the mega ‘Organics and Millets’ trade fair on Friday.

Published: 20th January 2018 03:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th January 2018 07:26 AM   |  A+A-

Visitors at the food stalls of Millets International Trade Fair 2018 at Palace Grounds, in Bengaluru on Friday | JITHENDRA M

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: :People, particularly farmers, came in large numbers in special buses from across the state to take part in the mega ‘Organics and Millets’ trade fair on Friday. And they were truly astounded at the array of choices of organic and millets showcased at Bengaluru Palace.

While traditional Kannada folk dances, including Dollu Kunitha, turned the business venue into an entertainment hub, brisk business by hawkers selling groundnuts, lucky charms and all oddities right from the entrance ensured a carnival-like atmosphere all around.

The nearly 300 stalls from different states that showcased either food products which were 100 per cent organic and sustainable or latest innovations to improve cultivation of millets were a huge draw with the visitors. A considerable chunk of foreign farmers and delegates who had come to assess the Indian millet market were spotted enjoying the products they were tasting.

Sisters Leela Keshav, a retired official from a multinational firm and Sumitra Seshadri, a former banking official were having a thoroughly enjoyable outing here.

Seshadri bills her experience today as `fantastic’. She was all praise for the Food Court (place where organic food was sold) and the delicacies offered. “Long before organic became popular, I used to visit Lal Bagh and buy mangoes and other fruits from the Jaivik shops. It is wonderful to see how popular organic products have now become,” she said. The varieties of ‘Seed Butter’ sold here --  pumpkin butter, watermelon butter and Shea butter among others -- have caught her fancy. Her sister is delighted with the lemon-flavoured Areca Tea. “Everything is so well laid out here,” Keshav says.

Meanwhile, the vendors who had set up stalls were delighted with the overwhelming response generated on the opening day and opined that the weekend would be better. Sahithya K of ‘Go Bharathi’ concern based at Cherlepelli in Hyderabad said, “Our packets of Ragi flakes and biscuits made of finger millets and natural jaggery are finding many takers.” They had also displayed ‘Pearl Millet’, ‘Kodo Millet’ and ‘Foxtail Millet’.

Deputy Director of Karnataka Seeds Organic Certificate Agency, S S Parashiva Murthy, says the public awareness has gone up manifold now. “Both manufacturers of products as well as public are keen on it getting certified,” he says.

Poor man’s food is now rich man’s food
VR Patil, a farmer from Honnidibba village in South Belagavi, was beaming with pride when he went around the millet stalls showcased here. He said: “I remembered reading a definition of millets in the Oxford dictionary that said that they were grass seeds eaten by poor Indians. Attitudes have changed now, he adds.

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