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The three days long National Horticulture Fair 2024 held at ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Hesaraghatta, Bengaluru from 5th March 2024 had concluded on 07.03.2024, with gracious presence of Sushri Shobha Karandlaje, Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Govt. of India. Smt. Jiksy Raphael, DGM, NABARD, Smt. Rohini Sindhuri, IAS, Special Secretary, Food Processing & Harvest Technology, Govt. of Karnataka, Shri. Ramesh D.S. IAS, Director of Horticulture, Govt. of Karnataka, Dr. V.B. Patel, ADG (Fruits &Plantation Crops), ICAR, New Delhi were the guests of  for the valedictory program.

Sushri Shobha Karandlaje in her address, opined that the farmers are excited to see the fruit, vegetable, flower and medicinal crops/varieties demonstrated and wish to grow these crops/varieties in their own gardens. After independence the country witnessed a transformation from food grain deficit to surplus production, through the era of green revolution. Moreover, the horticultural crops production (351 million MT) surpassed the food grain production (330 million MT), contributing to the country’s nutritional security, with the continued support from the farming community, scientists and policy makers.  Madam Karandlaje also emphasized on adoption of climate resilient crop varieties and technologies, to equip the farmers in sustaining the production under the adverse climatic conditions. With increasing demand for Indian produce in the global market, she urged the farmers for focusing on value addition, to capture the international demand. She also had a mention on the various central government schemes and financial support, available such as soil and plant health testing, tribal support schemes, warehouse and cold storage facilities, Kisan Samman Nidhi,  etc., for the benefit of farmers and women empowerment. She expressed her concerns on the rejections of our exported commodities due to pesticide residues and need for creating awareness among the farmers. Further, she emphasized on the use of advanced technologies like drones for inputs application, adoption of high yielding varieties and high density planting systems in perennial fruit and plantation crops for making the farming more profitable. While concluding, Sushri Karndlaje congratulated the director, scientists and staff of ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bengaluru for successfully organizing the fair.

Smt. Jiksy Raphael, the guest of Honour congratulated the institute for organizing the horticulture fair consistently every year, especially in virtual mode even during the pandemic period and appreciated for the continued collaboration with NABARD in research and extension.

In the beginning, Dr. Prakash Patil, Director (Acting), ICAR-IIHR welcomed the gathering. While briefing about the fair, Dr. M.V. Dhananjaya, Organizing Secretary, NHF 2024 mentioned that over 70000 visitors (including farmers, entrepreneurs, students and enthusiasts) from 22 states participated in the fair, wherein about 71 % farmers were from Karnataka, 13%  from Tamil Nadu, 6% from Andhrapradesh, 5% from Telangana, and rest 16 % from other states. The exhibition stalls from various public and private institutions totalling 234, included 4 Horticultural universities, 18 KVKs, etc. During the fair, 23 progressive horticulture farmers, 5 FPOs, 5 KVK officials and 4 entrepreneurs were felicitated, considering their invaluable contributions in wide-spread extension and adoption of the institute technologies. Further, 20 exhibition stalls were presented with ‘Best Stall awards’ under the categories viz., ICAR Institutes; KVK, AICRP & SAUs; State departments; Digital agriculture; Seed companies & inputs; Incubators & Start-ups; Small-scale units; Food processing and packaging; Organic farming and Nurseries. The various service providers such as police, law and order (3 nos.), traffic police (4 nos.), fire safety service (2 nos.), Ambulance service (1 no.), and the event partner ‘Event up’ were also felicitated for their continued support extended during the fair.  During the concluding program, two publications on ‘Quick response (QR) codes for ICAR-IIHR Developed Technologies’, a compilation of 248 cutting edge technologies of the institute in 10 languages and  ‘Cocoponics: A futuristic soilless vegetable production system’ were released by the dignitaries. Further, two MoUs with ‘IIIT, Sricity, Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh’ and ‘Tancoir, Government of Tamil Nadu’ were also exchanged during the program.

The three-days fair witnessed over 75000 footfall from about 22 states of the country. The wide publicity through various print, electronic and social media platforms could largely help in mobilizing the stakeholders, making the event a grand success. The fair was organized with the financial assistance from various government and private organizations such as ICAR- Directorate of Knowledge Management in Agriculture (DKMA), Department of Horticulture, Karnataka, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Directorate Horticulture and Farm Forestry, Chhattisgarh, Bihar Horticulture Department, Telangana Horticulture Department Zentron labs Pvt Ltd, Syngenta, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. etc.

The program was concluded with words of thanks by Dr. S. Sriram, Head, Division of Crop Protection, ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru.

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