The two-day Roots and Tuber Mela in which over 25 groups are displaying and selling different kind of tubers, food items, and value-added products began at the Gandhi Peace Foundation near Court Circle in Dharwad on Saturday.
Inaugurating the mela, actor-turned-environmentalist Suresh Heblikar said that roots and tubers were the underground secret treasures of nature which had many vitamins and minerals.
He said that root vegetables were low in calories and high in antioxidants. Roots and tuber crops that include potatoes, taro, cassava, sweet potatoes, yams were staple energy sources, only next to cereals, he said.
Mr. Heblikar said that tubers were precious gift of life by nature and they represented native unique culture. He emphasised the need for preserving traditional knowledge. “Unless we preserve that knowledge, there is no future for us,” he said.
Founder of Nature First Eco-Village P.V. Hiremath emphasised the need for the revival of interest in tubers just like millets and said that roots and tubers could easily adapt to diverse soil and environmental conditions and a variety of farming systems.
He said that because potato ‘eclipsed’ all its other cousins, the consumption of tubers got restricted only to tribes and there was need to move beyond potato, he said.
Head of Gandhi Peace Foundation chief Sanjiv Kulkarni said that the objective of the mela was to sensitise the urban community on the benefits of tuber consumption. The mela will conclude on Sunday evening. For further details, call 70900 09944 or 98809 08608.