With Sikkim becoming the first fully organic state, India ranks first in the number of organic farmers and ninth in the area under organic farming. Let’s find out where does India stands in organic farming.
Organic Farming in India
Organic farming is not new to India. Before the green revolution, our ancestors practised chemical-free farming which yielded a little above than their sustenance level. However, agriculture needs to be changed as the country developed and adopted techniques aiming to produce more to maintain food security. While we attained the objective of producing enough for ourselves and others, we lost track of organic farming. However, the trend is gaining momentum once again but with more scientific techniques and profitability his time.
Government Initiative for Organic Farming
The government of India has launched two programs- Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOCVD) and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) in 2015 to encourage chemical-free farming in the country. India’s organic export basket includes flax seeds, sesame, soybean, tea, medicinal plants, rice, and pulses. Several countries, including the USA, UK, and Italy, have become an important destination for India’s healthy farm products.
To instil the consumer’s confidence, the government of India issues certificates under the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) and National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) and label products with FSSAI, Jaivik Bharat / PGS Organic India. Also, the authorities are assisting around 40,000 clusters covering seven lakh hectares under organic farming.
Tamil Nadu government has allocated Rs 15 crore for providing incentives to the organic farmers of the state. The fund will be used to promote organic cultivation of greens, brinjal, cabbage, lady’s finger, and cauliflower. Further, the government sets a target of converting 76,000 acres to organic farms this year. The scheme will benefit around 60,000 farmers of the state by providing an incentive within the range of ₹2,500 per hectare to ₹5,000 per hectare, depending on the crop.
Rethinking the Traditional Model of Marketing
Though the COVID pandemic created disruptions, it also served as an opportunity for officials to rethink the traditional model of farm marketing. Several states, along with FPO’s worked on creating a direct link between farmers and consumers. Manipur Organic Agency mobilized the produce of 15 FPOs to two organic wholesale centres at Sanjenthong and Chingmeriong in Imphal. Also, the government strengthened the organic e-commerce platform Jaivik Kheti. ICAR also confirms greater participation of Northeastern states in webinars organized to understand the issues faced by the organic farmers of the states.
Launch of Online Farm-to-Fork Service
Nitin Gadkari, via video conference, announced the launch of Vedkrishi.com to promote the sale of non-toxic farm produce. He said that India needs to focus on productivity and profitability, along with achieving success in organic farming. The portal will provide home delivery of dairy goods, vegetables, grains, and pulses along with pickles and sauces. He added that the portal would allow consumers to buy farm-fresh produce from the farmer. Besides, it will supply farm inputs like compost, biofertilizer, pest control solutions to the farmers.
The portal initiated by Nagpur based Farmer Producer Company will be operational within the next few months.
To conclude, Indian organic farmers will soon mark their place in the global organic produce market. Given they acquire correct knowledge along with support from the government.