A Truly Fruitful Fest
Iris C F Gomes
The three day Konkan Fruit Fest 2016 opened, quite appropriately, on Earth Day to huge crowds visiting and purchasing plants, saplings, seedlings, seeds, fruit and fruit products, organic fertilisers, compost bins, books on plants, etc. The festival, which was held at the Campal promenade in Panjim, is a means for Goans to reconnect with nature and learn about the natural produce of this beautiful state. This is something that the modern generation has been robbed of, in a way, with most of their activities keeping them away from nature.
The Konkan Fruit Fest first was started in 2003 by the Botanical Society of Goa but was discontinued after 2008. Since 2011 it has been a regular annual event in Goa. While the festival has always had the support of the Corporation of Panaji and ICAR - Central Coastal Agricultural Research Institute, Old Goa, this year, for the first time, the Botanical Society of Goa has partnered with Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC).
The Botanical Society of Goa and the Forest Department of Goa had an exhibition of fruit such as the rose apple, star fruit, figs, different variety of mangoes, etc. There were also Senra (Phoenix sylvestris) or wild dates, Kanna (Carissa carandas), Jagma (Fluocourtia jangomas), and other fruit that were showcased.
The most prominent of the stalls was the Goacan stall, which had people engrossed in Roland Martins’ explanations about consumer rights, civic duties and road safety. Horticulturist Daniel D’Souza had one of the more interesting and attractive stalls with his bonsai collection of trees of tamarind, cherry, fig, star fruit, etc.
Dr John Carmo Rodrigues’ assortment of tonic wines under the label of Goan Homemade Tonic Wines were fascinating in the list of benefits they claim to bring. For example Jamun wine is supposed to help with liver disorders, reduce muscle pain, lower blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, and so on. Green Goa Works was there with EM (Effective Microorganisms) and various organic produce. Green Essentials had people signing up to champion 5000 new trees in Panjim.Besides these there were attractive displays of flowering plants from Dande Gardens (landscape artists), Taleigao and Shree Agriculture Nursery, Chorao.
Apart from the stalls, there were additional competitions, talks and musical entertainment. Competitions included cupcake decorating and fruit eating. There was a talk by cartoonist Alexyz on Goa Today and Tomorrow. Alexyz was there to talk about his cartoons and their satirical statement on Goa’s sorry plight in many areas, courtesy of Friday Balcao. Daniel D’Souza gave a demonstration on the living art of bonsai.
The busy Konkan Fruit Fest with its student volunteers and staff from Don Bosco College of Agriculture, Sulcorna-Goa talking about the fruit, and organic practices, provided a wealth of knowledge and a pleasant experience for its visitors; something we can look forward to in the next year too.