Mysuru:The two-day annual Roots and Tuber Mela organised by the city’s Sahaja Samrudha, in association with Using Diversity, began at Nanjaraja Bahadur Choultry on Vinoba Road here this morning.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Dr. K.V. Rajendra inaugurated the Mela by slicing a Tuber .
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Rajendra said, people looked at a variety of tablets for vitamins when the COVID pandemic broke out three years ago. But Tubers and Roots grown naturally are found to be rich in nutrients and vitamins, he said.
Noting that Roots and Tuber crops that include Potatoes, Taro, Cassava, Sweet Potatoes, Yams etc., are cultivated staple energy sources and are only second to cereals, the DC said they favourably adapt to diverse soil and environmental conditions and a variety of farming systems.
Continuing, Dr. Rajendra said that Tubers play a significant role in food security and nutrition and as such, the Mela is a very valuable one for the people.
Maintaining that he was surprised to learn that there are over 200 varieties of Tubers that are on display at the Mela, he said that the District Administration will render all necessary help and support for the cause of Roots and Tuber growers.
Stating that the District Administration has planned setting up of Roots and Tuber Growers Association with participation of Sahaja Samrudha and farmer groups, the DC said that the membership fee for farmers would be Rs.1,000, which the District Administration has planned to borne it out of CSR funds.
Asserting that the District Administration will make all efforts to find appropriate markets for Roots, Tubers and all other products made out of them, he said that the help of NABARD too will be sought to explore markets and good prices and also to encourage organic farming.
Dr. Rajendra released a 2023 calendar brought out by Sahaja Samrudha that carries pictures of varieties of Roots and Tubers on the occasion. Also, a Purple Cake made exclusively out of Roots and Tubers was cut, marking the inauguration.
Sahaja Samrudha Director G. Krishna Prasad, Seema Prasad, N.M. Shaji of Kerala, who has brought 200 tubers for display, Seed Conservator Parvati, Writer and Food Expert Ratna Rajaiah and others were present.
The Mela has over 25 stalls selling different varieties of Tubers and Roots, rare Colombian Tuber Yacon Beans, Purple Yam brought by Jenukuruba women groups of Nagarahole, Multi-colour Sweet Potatoes etc., a variety of dishes made out of Roots and Tubers, saplings and seeds, Ice-creams etc.
The event also features a ‘Roots and Tubers Cooking Contest’ at 12 noon tomorrow (Feb. 12) and the winners will be given prizes.
The two-day Mela, which concludes tomorrow, will be open from 10.30 am to 8 pm on both the days.