Eco Talk: The National Horticulture Fair Empowers Farmers to Grow More and Grow Better

In this episode, Dr. Venkat Kumar and Jagdish K N speak about the National Horticulture Fair by The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)- The Indian Institute of Horticultural Research ( IIHR) – how it is conducted and how many farmers participate. This ‘Bhartiya Tottagaraka Samshodhana Samaste’ has a 51-year history; it is only in the past 3 years that it has being referred to as the National Horticulture Fair. “All farmers are wholeheartedly invited to this fair. The aim behind the event is to solve farming-related problems. We also introduce them to various new types of crops and farming techniques.”

This year’s theme is ‘Grameena Samridhigaagi Tottagaarike’. Dinesh teaches the attending farmers how to develop their business and be an entrepreneur. “The objective is to teach them how to earn more while staying in their village itself.” The farm-related problems that are usually discussed include low yield of crops, insect attacks on crops, improved methods and technologies that can be used while farming.

Along with flowers, fruits and vegetables, the farmers also sell mushrooms. “Mushrooms have a lot of good properties, it is very good for our health and both elder persons and children can benefit from them. Nowadays, people in Bangalore are struggling with a lot of health issues like diabetes and blood pressure, and consuming mushrooms can help reduce these symptoms.” He also mentions that people are taught how to use mushrooms in various ways at the fair. Studies have shown that mushrooms have a very short shelf-life. “At the fair, farmers are taught how to extend this shelf-life. The grass where the mushrooms grow can be used to make natural fertilisers.”

The fair helps farmers grow insect-free crops and sell them at a good profit. “We see to it that the crops have a sustainable life and that the yield is high. The farmers also learn the importance of poultry farming and rain water harvesting, which can help during droughts.”

Dr. Venkat Kumar works for the block agricultural expansion. “The main idea is to give proper training to the farmers. We also go to the fields and provide farmers with demonstrations.” An exhibition at the fair will host close to 100 stalls where the farmers can buy anything that they want for their field – like fertilisers, chemicals, and organic products. “This year, we have brought in a ‘seed village concept’ where the farmers can earn twice of what they are earning currently.”

The organisation is home to almost 60 breeds of plants and each of them have the capacity to withstand any type of bacterial or insect attack. “Normally, plants have to be sprayed with certain medicines but the plants that are found here need not be. We use various technologies to see to it that the plants are not affected in any way.”

A farmer in the village may not have access to many products, but when they come to the fair, they not just get to purchase them but also watch demos relating to them.

Listen in for more…

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