The first ladies and spouses of G20 member countries experienced the Agricultural prowess of India first-hand, in a one-of-akind exhibition organized by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare at IARI Campus,Pusa,today. The event featured a range of captivating components, such as a millet-focused live cooking session led by celebrity chefs KunalKapur, Anahita Dhondy, and Ajay Chopra, as well as the display of cutting-edge agricultural technology from prominent Indian startups, interaction with Indian women agri-champions, ‘Agri-Street’.
The spouses made their way to the exhibition area, prior to that they had a brief pitstop at the ‘Rangoli Area’, which featured two massive ‘Millet Rangolis’. The beautiful artworks were prepared using millet grains and local Indian motifs. The first rangoli captured the theme of “Harmony of Harvest” unveiling India’s deep-rooted agricultural traditions. This installation showcased India’s agricultural strength, emphasizing women’s pivotal roles in enhancing agricultural resilience. Curated with indigenous toys symbolizing women’s diverse agricultural contributions, millets, and rustic terracotta pots, this captivating Rangoli became a major highlight of the event. The second rangoli piece echoed India’s cultural philosophy – “The World is One Family”, emphasizing global unity. India as a prominent agriculture nation, plays a crucial role in global food security. The second rangoli, thus, celebrated India’s global commitment towards unity and sustenance.
In the exhibition area, the spouses witnessed the dynamic Agri-startup ecosystem, where 15 Agri-startups showcased their innovative tech solutions to address ground-level challenges and digitize agriculture. Climate Smart Agriculture, Innovation in Agriculture Value Chain, Agri-logistics & Supply Chains, Quality Assurance for Sustainable Consumption, and Millets: Sustaining Health, Empowering Agriculture, were a few themes that were covered in the exhibition. Additionally, diverse members of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) from across the nation displayed a range of edible products marketed nationwide, aligned with the theme ‘Empowering Rural Prosperity through Collective Agriculture.’
An enthralling ‘Live Cooking Session’ showcased a wide variety of millet-based culinary delights. This event was aligned with the celebrations of the International Year of Millets.It was helmed by three celebrity chefs – KunalKapur, Anahita Dhondy, and Ajay Chopra, who were joined by two culinary experts from the ITC Group, chef Kusha and chef Nikita.In the designated ‘Live Cooking Area,’ these five chefs prepared a ‘full course meal’ with a special focus on millets. This meal encompassed appetizers, salads, main courses, and desserts.
Chef Anahita, Chef Kunal, and Chef Ajay were each responsible for crafting a starter, main course, and dessert. For instance, Chef Anahita created a Raw Banana Barnyard Millet Tikki topped with puffed Amaranth. Meanwhile, Chef Kunal whipped up a delightful Jowar-Mushroom Khichda. Finally, Chef Ajay brought the multi-course millet experience to a close with a Millet Thekua and a Lemon Shrikhand Mille-feuille dessert. Within the exhibition, there was a dedicated culinary section that showcased millet-based dishes from all G20 member countries, paying homage to each nation that participated in the event.
The exhibition also highlighted India’s Research and Development achievements via the stalls presented by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), demonstrating the latest innovations in precision agriculture, agricultural technology, and mechanization advancements driving sector growth. Each stall showcased specific crop advancements backed by government initiatives. Some of the key stalls focused on themes like the journey of the Basmati revolution, its role in the prosperity of millions of Basmati farmers, and its status as a 5 billion USD forex earner. Another stall highlighted India’s status as the “Land of Spices” emphasizing the wide variety and global fame of Indian spices, along with future scope. A neighbouring stall provided insights into the nutritional and medicinal significance of mushrooms, their extensive diversity in India, and their potential for export. Additionally, the esteemed guests also viewed the sensor-based system that facilitated the real-time monitoring of environmental conditions during the transportation, storage, and ripening of bananas, among other interesting exhibits of ICAR.
The ‘Agriculture Street’ was another major component of the exhibition curated by the Ministry, serving as a captivating journey into India’s agricultural legacy and offering insight into its vibrant past as well as the future. Here the Ministry presented a comprehensive view of agricultural practices, uniting experts, scientists, and farmers under one roof. This street was composed of nine interactive stalls, each adorned with rustic decor, creating an immersive environment for the spouses of G20 Head of States. Here, they could explore the diverse facets of agriculture, with a particular emphasis on millets. It also highlighted India’s initiatives aimed at enhancing food and nutritional security. One of the key highlights of the Agri Gully were the exhibits of Lahri Bai, a young female farmer from Dindori, Madhya Pradesh who conserved more than 150 indigenous seed varieties including about 50 varieties of millet seeds in her two-room hut earning the title of ‘Millet Queen’ of India.
After the event concluded, the G20 Spouses received a token of appreciation in the form of a hamper. The hamper’s contents were carefully chosen to represent India’s vibrant cultural and artistic heritage. These items included handwoven stoles crafted from silk sourced from the Sal forests of Chhattisgarh, a handcrafted bell metal figurine created using an ancient lost wax technique reminiscent of the method used for the iconic ‘Dancing Girl’ artifact from the Harappan civilization (3300 BCE to 1300 BCE), and a Cheriyal Painting.
The visit provided the First Ladies and Spouses with an understanding of the progress India has made in the agricultural sector, including the area of millet farming. The women farmers who were invited from 10millet producing states which are Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Assam symbolize the grassroots-level changes occurringand interacting with them allowed the first ladies and spouses to gain insight into the evolving millet value chain in the country. Renowned chefs curated a remarkable feast to emphasize the versatility of millets and Indian cuisine to the distinguished guests, while Start-Ups and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) showcased their latest technologies and products, creating a unique and memorable experience for all those in attendance.