VILLUPURAM: About 50 farmers from the northern districts participated in a two-day organic paddy seed exhibition and traditional food festival held in Villupuram on Saturday and Sunday. The fourth year of this exhibition has seen the ryots pass on their wisdom on organic farming, the fight against climate change to young farmers.
The exhibition displayed 460 varieties of traditional paddy seeds, pulses and medicinal herbs. In addition, about 39 varieties of organic vegetable seeds were on sale, including organic tomato, ladyfingers and drumstick seeds. Besides seeds, natural fodder for livestock with increased levels of protein and nutrients was also sold.
“In 10 years, I have collected all 460 varieties of paddy from farmers in eight states during such seed festivals,” says Kavidhai Ganesan, a former Cuddalore food official. Ganesan had 108 herbal seeds. “The exhibition was aimed at students and the younger generation,” he said.
Ganesan’s sample had the species scientific name and common name. A note on the medicinal property of the species has also been placed. He said that during his service as a food officer, he introduced the trainees to 50 varieties of seeds. Over the past decade, Ganesan has mastered seed collecting.
“About 1,500 people visited the exhibition. On Sunday, 500 people enjoyed the traditional food that we served for `50 per plate. We hope that the food festival will help us convey the idea of agriculture and healthy food to people in a way they understand,” said Pandiyan, one of the organizers.
Along with seeds, natural organic fodder for livestock made an appearance at the event. Unlike the natural fodder given to cattle, this naturally processed feed contains protein, said Kumar, a representative of cattle feed company RGS Kamadhenu. “Natural feeds like paddy hay, pulses and straw are fed separately to livestock, which has a relatively low protein content compared to naturally processed protein pellets. We produce the pellets by collecting raw ingredients, boiling and taking small pellets.The protein in pellets for cows is 16% more than raw feed.Because the feed is boiled before processing, it disinfects the feed, which makes the cattle less susceptible to common diseases.
K Govindharajan, a farmer who visited the expo, said, “These types of expos and festivals are held mainly in Chennai and other cities. But it is positive that small towns with the majority of farming population also attend organic farming festivals. He added that he bought organic seeds of tomatoes, brinjal, bitter gourd, drumstick and some green vegetables.