After strawberry, dragon fruit, UP to host ‘Tomato Festival’

Varanasi (IANS)¬†February is emerging as a month of fruit and vegetable festivals in Uttar Pradesh. After festivals of strawberry, sweet potato and dragon fruit, the Yogi Adityanath government is hosting ‘Tomato Festival’ in Varanasi to promote the consumption of tomato, its dishes, drinks and varied products.

According to the government spokesman, the date for the ‘Tomato festival’ will be finalized soon.

The famous ‘Banarasi Tamatar chaat’ will be the main attraction of the event.

Divisional commissioner Deepak Agrawal said, “Preparations are being done for holding tomato festival. The venue and dates of the fest will be declared soon. District magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma has held meetings for assigning roles of agriculture, horticulture, culture, tourism departments, Indian Institute of Vegetable Research, Varanasi Municipal Corporation and Varanasi Development Authority in the event. We will rope in hotels, restaurants, chefs and housewives.”

The fest, aims at increasing tomato consumption in hospitality sector besides attracting agro and food processing industries, which will be a boon for farmers who struggle due to massive fluctuation in prices every year.

District horticulture officer, Sandeep Kumar Gupta, said, “Tomato and onion are two vegetable that witness massive price fluctuation. When the prices start rising, there is massive hue and cry. But, mostly the price of tomato does not rise and farmers are compelled to sell it for Rs 3-Rs 10 per kg. Risk for tomato growers is also high as it is perishable and cannot be stored for long.”

As per rough estimates, tomato is cultivated in over 5,000 hectare in Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, Naugarh belt of Chandauli, Ghazipur and Varanasi, and on an average 350 quintal of hybrid tomato is produced per hectare, said Gupta.

“It is a good move of the government and will help increasing local and industrial consumption of tomato which will ensure good price for farmers,” he added.

The fest will help farmers understand the requirements of hospitality and industrial sectors and the varieties of tomatoes best suited for them.

Gaurav Garg, the chief executive officer of the event management company assigned this fest, said, “It will be a unique event. Housewives and master chefs will be participating and cooking their own dishes, while hotels, restaurants and vendors will also showcase their tomato-based food, drink and dessert items. The event will focus on attracting agro industries.”

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