Of all vegetables, potato has always acquired a special place, at least in the context of India. This may be the reason why a special exhibition, known as the 'Agrotech 2008', devoted to potato business has been organized at the NASC Complex, Pusa Road, New Delhi. This expo is a 4-day affair, starting from 9th Dec to 12th Dec. Organized by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), the Indian Potato Association (IPA) and the Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD), this expo will present all the opportunities and challenges, facing the Indian potato industry.
I paid my visit to Agrotech 2008 on its second day. To my surprise, the fair showcased an entire range of products, technology and machines used in the production of potatoes. I visited a number of display booths at the fair, showcasing products such as seeds, pesticides, agro inputs, food processing inputs, farm machines, IT products, fertilizers and micro nutrients, rural consumer products, and many more. The last edition of this expo did not include such a wide array of products. The reason being low participation by the manufacturers of agricultural equipments and machineries. However, it was the success of the last edition that resulted into a large number of participants and visitors this time.
The visitors' profile at the Agrotech 2008 points out the importance of this event. The list includes banks and financial institutions, organisations involved in horticulture, educational institutions, agricultural retail companies, rural institutions, and also many NGOs. Apart from people who are involved in the production of potatoes directly or indirectly, the expo also witnessed the presence of scientists. They attended the event to exchange their views and ideas related to commercial production of potatoes. This is indeed a great opportunity for farmers associated with ICAR to know about advanced techniques to produce potatoes.
Some high profile scientists, entrepreneurs and industrial experts were present at the expo to exchange their ideas and opinions in the Global Potato Conference 2008. An integral part of the expo, this conference has been organized to highlight the prospects and benefits of potatoes. However, the major attractions of the expo have been its interactive quiz sessions, technology film theatre, specialized food pavilions, and an interesting potato food festival. I thoroughly enjoyed the potato food festival, as for the first time in my life, I could see a countless number of potato-based dishes. There were also some dishes which I had never heard of. Overall, it was a great experience.