Organic Farming Sector in India

What is Organic Farming

Organic Farming is a production management system that promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It focuses on natural methods of farming rather than using chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Organic Farming is very much native to India and has is being successfully implemented since the ancient and middle ages to the present date.

Organic Farming
A person harvesting Organically grown coriander

Benefits of Organic Farming

  • Less soil, water and air pollution
  • Nutritional food
  • Increased Soil nourishment
  • Increased Carbon sequestration

There are a lot more benefits that you can read about in this article

Organic Agriculture in India

Important features of the Indian Organic Sector

Organic Farming has been around in India for a very long time. The sector has been growing exponentially since the “Sevagram Declaration” (1994)(link this gov article) for the promotion of Organic Agriculture and monetary benefits by the government as well as non-government organizations. India has always seen a growing local as well as international demand for its products due to the phenomenal growth in the area under organic management.

Indians have also achieved the status of the largest organic cotton grower in the world with the production of 77,000 metric tonnes of organic cotton lint, with more than 50% of the worlds total organic cotton.

Organic Farm Production

India’s 2018-19 organic area accounted for 1.08% of total agricultural land and reached 1.93 million hectors, a whopping 8.8% increase from 2017. Apart from this, there is also a 1.49 million hectare area for the collection of wild harvest. States like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra have the largest organic certified areas. Furthermore, Sikkim has declared itself the first-ever “Organic State” of the world with all of its land being organic-certified since 2015.

Sikkim Organic Farm
Sikkim is a 100% Organic State

As per MY-2019, 4,53,622 farmers were registered under 3rd party organic certification.

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Growing Organic Food Market

  • Digital Information and E-Commerce: Due to the recent increase in smartphone usage, along with low-cost internet, information about Organic Food has seen an increase in access. Combined with this are E-Commerce platforms which are an easy medium to reach out to potential customers across the world. Experts are predicting a growth in the Organic Food Market in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in years to come, and thus a continued increase in demand for Organic Food.
  • Unnoticeable Price Difference: The difference in prices in Organic and Non-Organic Food is very insignificant. Organic Food has greater health benefits, the demand for Organic food is bound to increase.
  • Increase in Exports: The geographical positioning of India is very favourable for growing Organic food. The quality of food is very high, which is why there is a huge demand for Indian Organic Products. Recently, the government issued a statement saying there is a 25-30% increase in the Organic food market.

Government Projects for promotion of Organic Food

Here are some projects by the government of India for the promotion of Organic Farming:

  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana: This scheme promotes cluster-based farming for profit, with PGS certification. Cluster formation, training and certification are supported under this scheme.
  • Mission Organic Value Chain Development for Noth Eastern Region: 100% assistance is given to the state government for setting up mechanized agro-waste compost production, with a maximum limit of Rs. 190L
  • National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm: 50% financial support is provided for different components including bio-fertilizers, the supply of rhizobium culture etc.
  • National Food Security Mission: Financial assistance is provided for the promotion of Bio-fertilizers like rhizobium/PSB

You can read more about these schemes here

International Organic Farm Exports

The official data from APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) indicates an export of $757.4million in MY 2018-19. The USA was the largest importer of Indian Organic produce. The top organic fruits and vegetables exported by value were oilseeds, cereals and millets, tea and coffee, dried fruits and spices and condiments.

Organic Farming in India
India’s Organic Produce by state

Currently, there are no regulations for the import of organic food in India. Only organic food products certified by the USA standard (i.e. NOP standard) can be imported for re-export (ex: for using in some processed food).

Country wise Organic Export, 2018 -19
Country wise Organic Export, 2018 -19

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Organic Farming E-Commerce Platform

India’s Organic Produce E-commerce platform “Javik Kheti” is currently being optimized for directly linking farmers to retailers and bulk buyers. The portal is a one-stop solution for facilitating organic farmers to sell their organic produce and promoting organic farming and its benefits. It caters to various stakeholders like local groups, individual farmers, buyers and input suppliers.

Organic Farming E-Commerce Platform
Jaivik Kheti

Features of Javik Kheti as listed on their website:

  • Buyer and Seller Registration
  • Local Group Registration
  • Input supplier registration
  • Bidding
  • Buyer Guides

You can find more information on Javik Kheti’s informative page

National Centre of Organic Farming

The National Centre of Organic Farming (NCOF) is a government organization for the promotion of Organic Farming. NCOF came into force in 2004, for implementing National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF) along with its Regional Centres at Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar, Imphal, Jabalpur, Nagpur and Panchkula. Currently, NCOF is located in Ghaziabad and has 9 Regional Centres at Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar, Gandhinagar, Ghaziabad,  Imphal, Jabalpur, Nagpur, Panchkula and Patna.

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