Agriculture and health and wellness are two of the most essential industries in the world, and both are linked in dynamic and complex ways. Combination of both can create miracles, says Prem Behl to Ayurved Sutra.

Mr.Prem Behl is the Chairman & Managing Director of Exhibitions India Group (EIG), a name synonymous with highly innovative and successful international exhibitions, events and conferences. He is globally recognised for his path-breaking and visionary contributions to the exhibitions industry. Ayurved Sutra speaks to him about Krishi India expo and Wellness India expo.

Interviewed at New Delhi by our representative Shruti Prabhakar.

 

How did Krishi India expo and Wellness India expo come about? What is the connection between agriculture and health?

Agriculture and health and wellness are two of the most essential industries in the world, and both are linked in dynamic and complex ways. Agricultural production can contribute to good health among farmers as well as consumers. Since poverty in our country is largely rural, with small-scale farmers comprising a very significant proportion of the poor, eradicating poverty is integrally linked to boosting food production and rural incomes. When a farmer’s income grows, he invests in an improved diet, better sanitation and healthcare, etc.

The expos will strive to create a future for agriculture to enhance the health of our citizens. Organic farming plays an important role to maintain and restore natural nutrients to enhance soil health and the ecosystem, while eliminating the enormous health hazards faced by farmers, their families, communities and consumers.

Therefore, it is critical for these sectors to work more closely together to develop pioneering solutions and Agricultural production contributes to health and wellness of society with contribute to the central goal of eradicating poverty and achieving food security for all. And this is why, India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) and Exhibitions India Group, decided to hold both expos together.

Are there any particular models that can be game changers?

One model that I find interesting is the public-private partnership model which can be a game changer for the agri and healthcare sectors. PPPs can transform the sectors at multiple levels. For instance, our farmers are constantly threatened by extreme situations such as flood and droughts that spell disaster for their produce. PPPs that help the agri sector deal with adverse weather, and allow farmers to minimise risk through insurance, can turn around fortunes of the rural community.

Cooperatives, too, play an important role in enabling small producers access economies of scale in procurement and marketing. When 100 small farmers form a group, they can raise the funds for joint procurement of farm inputs like seeds and fertilisers. This makes it more affordable and increases agricultural output. Farmers’ incomes also increase as they are able to access better markets than they would if they worked individually. Cooperatives pay for the quick transportation of farm produce, which is not easy for individual small-scale producers.

What are your expectations from the expos?

We expect the expos to support sustainable agriculture, empower small farmers, promote gender equality, end rural poverty, ensure healthy lifestyles, and promote traditional Indian systems of medicines and other related issues. The expos will help one find answers to persistent farming and health challenges, and equip participants with adaptable skills to change their traditional mindset.

Also, it is our belief that such events will attract much needed investments and technical knowhow to the agri and healthcare sectors. We are confident that many new relationships will arise from the networking interactions amongst participants.

What are the key themes of the conference sessions?

The seminar sessions provide our attendees with the widest range of topics imaginable. Themes include Bringing Wellness to You; Farming and Agriculture: An Overall Perspective; AYUSH for New India: Vision and Strategy; Yoga for Wellness; Horticultural Production Systems; Crop Varieties: Save and Grow; Marketing Innovations and Technologies in Agriculture; Organic Food; Vegan is the Future; Nutrition for a Healthy Living; etc. The seminar sessions at Krishi India are expected to identify various crucial issues concerning agriculture and farmers’ welfare and finding practicable solutions.

The main aim of these sessions will be to build a consensus around appropriate recommendations that will help in shaping and sharpening the vision of the Government on doubling farmers’ income by 2022. Participants will include policy makers, industry leaders farmers, farmers’ associations, scientists, economists, academics, trade industry, professional associations, NGOs, and so on.

The seminar sessions in Wellness India expo, incorporating Organic India, Health India and Biotech India, will focus on traditional Indian systems of medicines for accessible and affordable healthcare. It will facilitate promotion and help boost exports of AYUSH products, and showcase latest research and developments in alternative medicine systems of India. The sessions will also emphasise on health start ups and newbies that are shaping the future of healthcare.

Wellness India expo made a name in its first year itself, with a record number of visitors what do you expect from the launch edition of Krishi India expo?

Well, I don’t think anybody can predict what numbers we get through the doors, especially in our first year. However, the response has been outstanding. We have had a substantial number of registrations and with our incredibly strong line-up of features to boot, we are convinced that this show will stand out from the rest.

Finally, it’s about time India got an exhibition focused around small-scale farmers, and we have taken particular pride in making sure the spirit of the show is truly sustainable.

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