(Eds: Adding details)
New Delhi, Oct 26 (PTI) Union minister Maneka Gandhi Friday inaugurated the fifth edition of the Women of India National Organic Festival at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).
The festival is aimed at boosting organic culture and promoting women organic farmers and entrepreneurs.
The Woman and Child Development minister said woman entrepreneurs and farmers from across the country are participating in the event and selling their produce.
"And for the first time, vegan food and a food court have been introduced. Woman farmers and entrepreneurs from across the country are participating in the festival," she said, adding that the festival is anticipating a sale of Rs 3 crore this year.
Last year, there was a business worth Rs 2 crore.
"This is our ministry's effort to be a part of what can be done to change the world and at the same time empower our women," she said.
The minister also encouraged gifting of organic products and advocated Delhiites to adopt this unique gifting idea.
Gandhi explained that the festival has now expanded to other cities and has already been organised in a big way in Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Chennai. The participants are being encouraged to sell their products on a long term basis on the WCD Ministry's e-marketing portal Mahila-e-Haat, she added.
The 10-day-long organic festival, which will be held till November 4, will showcase producers and manufacturers of organic products from 26 Indian states.
Over 500 women entrepreneurs from Leh to Kanyakumari and from Kohima to Kutch have participated at the fest with their organic products, including 1,200 varieties of rice, several varieties of millets, cereals, pulses, spices, chilli chocolates, pumpkin seeds, cookies, pickles, dry fruits, oils, honey, tea, coffee, mushrooms, herbs, cosmetics, aromatherapy products, organic seeds, organic cotton fabrics, linen fabrics, seeds jewellery and fruit wines, among others.
The demand for Indian organic products is constantly increasing worldwide. India exported organic products worth USD 515 million in financial year 2017-18. At present, the country is home to more than 8,35,000 organic producers, 699 processors and 669 exporters, a ministry official said.
It is also home to more than 30 per cent of total number of organic producers (2.7 million) in the world. Overall, the income and savings of a farmer using exclusively organic methods in agriculture increases by over 50 per cent since there is no investment in costly chemical pesticides, fertilisers and preservatives.
In addition to the organic extravaganza on offer, there will also be cultural performances during the 10-day festival, focusing on folk music and dance. Visitors will be able to enjoy and be a part of soulful Baul music and scintillating performances from northeast, Punjab and Rajasthan.
To make the organic movement more accessible to public, the ministry has changed the venue for the 2018 edition to IGNCA and has kept entry and parking free for all. PTI PLB KJ