Vidarbha is the eastern region of Mahrashtra state. It was famous for fertile lands, simple living, content people with a lifestyle more of laid-back in nature. The rainfed agriculture, traditional farming practices, livestock based farming system was sound enough to feed the people for generations after generations. The farmers were never dependent on the outside world for anything. They would farm with own saved seed, self-prepared inputs and would produce almost everything they required e.g. cereals, pulses, vegetables, spices etc.
“If you look at the history of the region, there were calamities like severely elongated draughts many times, and no doubt there were low incomes and discontent in the past,” says Mr Prakash Pohare, editor in chief of Deshonnati newspaper and a social activist, “but there were no suicides! It was with the onset of the first decade of present century when the lethal GM cotton seeds were introduced to this land, the helpless and hapless farmers found no alternative than to succumb to the mounting pressures of exhorbitant costs of chemical inputs, GM seeds, harrassment of private moneylenders and deteriorating inherent capacities of soils.”
“The only solution we felt was to promote organic agriculture, which preserves the traditional wisdom, native seeds, breeds and a self-sustaining system of living.” says Prakash bhau (a word for elder brother in Marathi language).
“ No matter, how much one promotes the organic agriculture, it will never be popular among farmers unless there is a substantial demand for the organically grown commodities from the market.” Says Dr Amol Nirban, Business Development Officer of Ecocert India – the co-organiser of this event.
“We and Deshonnati have came to this understanding, that the real demand should be created in the local areas for organically grown food. Consumers should be made aware of the health hazards of chemical farming and encouraged to buy the certified organic commodities grown in their own regions. Then only the farmers will be in a position to commit themselves to the cause of sustainable agrculture.”
“ The Organic Food and Taste Festival is one such opportunity to foster the confidence in the minds of the organic farmers as well as consumers. The consumers will be astonsihed at the range of organic commodities available in their own region and the affordable rates they can purchase the very ‘safe’ and ‘fearless’
While the famers will sell the organic products directly to visiting consumers, there is range of traditional cuisine available in the food court which the consumers and visitors can relish.
“Its not only the city of Akola, but cityfolks throughout the country are forgetting the traditional delicious recipes, with the advent of western food. This is in turn detrimental to the agro-biodiversity.”
“Success of such Organic Food and Taste Festival will evoke the much needed awareness about the certified organic food among Indian consumers and will drive the local enthusiastic entrepreneurs to enter domestic trading, retail and restaurant business of organic food commodities,”