Went yesterday (14.12.2011) for the Kisan Expo 2011 at Pune. My first visit to this expo. Paid Rs 50 per person for entrance. Was largely a waste of time and money. Why?
- The directions to the venue are not easily seen by road. We went from mumbai and saw just three small billboards saying Kisan but no signs pointing the way or anything. Wasted an hour driving up wrong roads, etc.
- The exhibition stalls were not all ready and some exhibitors were still struggling with putting up their stalls. The food courts were decidedly rough stuff. However, the toilets were reasonably clean (maybe it was because it was the first day).
- The ground was uneven and they had put up steps to access the covered areas. These steps were flimsy plywood constructs of uneven width covered with carpet flaps and I saw quite a number especially ladies falling and taking a tumble.
- Most of the visitors were local folk from Maharashtra, but I saw some farmers from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. 90% of the stalls had literature only in Marathi. This must have been sensible as most of the visitors were from maharashtra, but English literature should have been kept for non-maharashtrians.
- Most of the sales staff at various counters were young college students who couldnt answer a single query. We asked the Mahindra Tractors guy what was the difference between two similar looking models that were designated with different model nos and he replied in all seriousness that the difference was one was painted in blue and the other in red.
- The biggest reason for disappointment was that this was not an exhibition of new ideas or trends in agriculture, it was a more of a village shandy (once-a-week village market) to sell seeds, market fertilizer, drip irrigation and organic do-good mixtures. This was only my second agro fair. (I had visited one in Goregaon, Bombay a couple of years ago and it was an eye-opener in the various ways farms were being developed, non-renewable energy technologies for farms, water treatment systems, new types of agro implements and polyhouse solutions, etc.) Compared to that, this was a real disppointment and I dont think i am incorrect when I say it was merely a large village shandy.
I dont think the farmers who came from various parts of Maharashtra and beyond got any new ideas or exposure to new trends and developments in agriculture.