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Organic Mahotsav’s Organic Success: Inspiring Stories from Udaipur

Organic Farming is a revolution, which emphasises Clean Food on the principles of Sustainable Agriculture. The senior most members of India’s organic farming community set up the Organic Farming Association of India in the year 2002. The association was primarily set up to promote organic farming, lobby with government agencies and departments to pay more attention to sustainable agriculture, and assist farmers using chemicals and pesticides to convert successfully to organic farming methods. While the association has formulated programmes to assist organic farmers with organic certification and also participates fully in the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) of organic certification designed mostly for small and marginal farmers, it has steadfastly resisted becoming an agency for the procurement and distribution of organic produce. It prefers instead to promote and support individuals, communities, NGOs and networks who are in the business of organic marketing.

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OFAI today remains the only membership-based national association of organic farmers, organic farming promoters and green stores. By charter, the President of the association will always be an organic farmer. The association will also strive to ensure gender equality in all its activities. It campaigns actively against the introduction of genetically modified organisms and seeds in India’s agriculture.

OFAI organised Organic Mahotsav in Udaipur recently from 29Nov-Dec 1/2019. The Organic Farming logo was designed by the Team Thalagiri. The Seventh edition was the most successful  among Organic Mahotsavs held. This was  A festival funded by the farmers, might be the first in India, with little or no Government presence. The festival brought together seed savers, organic farmers and farmer breeders from all over the country with the motto of promoting our Desi (indigenous) varieties for nutritious and productive crops.

The Mahotsav saw participation of 2000 plus delegates,100 plus organisations,50 speakers,5 Session areas and 5 workshops. Seed is the basic input and lifeline of agriculture More than 200 seed savers from all over India Participated with 4000 across grains, pulses, rice, vegetables, fruits, trees and tubers. Some of the excellent collections were the  400 varieties of Rice from all over the country, 200 varieties of tubers, 20 varieties of Banana from Jaiva Kerala Karshaka Samithi,100 species of tree seeds from  across the country from an organisation called Tamizh kadu in Tamil Nadu. Local farming communities displayed their diverse indigenous seed varieties over generations.

Workshops and displays on production of value added products using cow dung and cow urine like bricks , Vedic plaster etc . The event also show cased start ups which were focused entirely on Cow products from all over India.  This space allowed consumers to know and procure authentic organic produce directly from producers as well as interact with them. It opened up marketing opportunities for all the organic producers selling farm produce and value added products.  Innovations of equipments, implements and organic technologies were open for display and discussion. Each project showcased contributed to our food and clothing value chain and provided a platform for the innovators to reach a larger audience. Organic Mahotsav was a rare opportunity to interact with award winning organic farmers, ecologists, entrepreneurs, natural farming enthusiasts, seed conservationists, environmentalists etc from all over the country.

It also helped in guiding, motivating young entrepreneurs, amplifying their ideas into successful models through inputs, and training. Workshops and demonstrations on topic like urban gardening, natural dyeing, soil health etc enabled exchange of knowledge and provided interactive learning for all. GABA – exhibition on seed to fabric was a unique show featuring desi cotton clothing dyed using natural materials. Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI) collaborated with designers, to create clothing which is easily accessible and wearable in everyday life. Kaskom, Biome and Swara exhibited  their Desi Cotton clothes which was hugely appreciated. 

The Organic Mahotsav focused on promoting showing the value chain of desi cotton from farmer to consumer, in promoting slow and sustainable clothing into the mainstream and spreading awareness. The program included a fashion show, interactive displays with fabrics and clothing, a networking session and an organic marketplace. Kabir concert was really a dream come true for us and we were all blown away by the earthy and raw texture of the songs presented.

Organic Mahotsav reaffirms the faith that anything is possible with hardwork. It isn’t an easy task to convene this large an audience, leaving no space to complain. Agriculture World and Krishi Jagran are extremely happy to have collaborated and partnered as Media Partners and met people who are excellent and different. We look forward for more collaborations in the future years to come.



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