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India ranks first in number of organic farmers, 9th in terms of area under organic farming

Sikkim has become the first state in the world to become fully organic. Other states including Uttarakhand and Tripura have also set similar sustainability targets.

Aug 20, 2020 16:19 IST
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India has been ranked first in the number of organic farmers and ninth in terms of area under organic farming. 

Sikkim has become the first state in the world to become fully organic. Other states including Uttarakhand and Tripura have also set similar sustainability targets.

North-east India has traditionally been organic and the consumption of chemicals is far less than the rest of the country. The tribal and island territories are also being encouraged to take forward their organic methods. 

Organic Farming in India

Organic farming is not a new concept in India, as Indian farmers have traditionally tilled their land without the use of chemicals, relying majorly on organic residues including composts and cow dung.
 
Organic farming involves the integration of natural elements such as soil, water, microbes and waste products, forestry and agriculture. It is the ideal method for sustainable use of natural resources that are coming under severe stress due to the increasing requirement of food and feedstock for agriculture-based industry. It is also in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 2 that aims to ‘end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture’.

Indian organic farmers will be able to create their place in the global agriculture trade with greater awareness and capacity building in compliance with international standards.

Key Highlights 

The central government had launched two dedicated programs in 2015 to provide a boost to natural, organic and chemical-free farming. The schemes include:
Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD)
Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)

The two programmes were launched to assist farmers to adopt organic farming and improve remunerations due to premium prices.

The Agri-export Policy 2018 also aims to help India emerge as a major player in global organic markets.

India’s major organic exports include flax seeds, sesame, soybean, tea, medicinal plants, rice and pulses. These exports were instrumental in driving an increase of nearly 50 percent in organic exports in 2018-19, touching Rs 5151 crore. 

The centre is further trying to strengthen the organic e-commerce platform www.jaivikkheti.in to directly link farmers with retail as well as bulk buyers. Infusion of digital technology in a much bigger way. This has been one of the major takeaways during the pandemic period.

Certification of Organic Products

The two central programmes PKVY and MOVCD promote certification under Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) and National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) respectively targeting domestic and export markets, as certification is an important element of organic produce to instill customer confidence.

The Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017 are also based on the PGS and NPOP standards. The consumer should look out for the logos of FSSAI, Jaivik Bharat / PGS Organic India on produce to establish its organic authenticity.  PGS Green certification is given to chemical-free produce under transition to ‘organic’ which takes 3 years.

Background

The Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana has been able to assist around 40,000 clusters, covering an area of about 7 lakh ha. The Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region has also brought in its fold 160 farmer producer organisations, cultivating about 80,000 hectares. 

However, to make these clusters sustainable, it is important that market led production starts in a contract farming mode so that there is a ready market for the produce and industry also gets the desired quality and quantity.

The commodities with the highest potential include ginger, turmeric, black rice, spices, Nutri cereals, pineapples, medicinal plants, buckwheat and bamboo shoots.

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