About Organic Sector
Globally, there has been significant sensitization during the last ten years towards environmental preservation and assuring of food quality. Organic farming is being promoted as an ideal alternative which not only addresses the environmental, food safety and sustainability concerns, but also has arguable the potential to feed the world. A major challenge today is the needed policy support and in the mainstreaming and the In the last five years, with the efforts of Central and State Governments and various stakeholders, a foundation has already been laid for the growth of organic farming in the country. But looking to the potential and size of the country, efforts need to be intensified and focused through appropriate policies.
Organic agriculture perspective under Indian conditions
Organic farming denotes a holistic system of farming which optimizes productivity in a sustainable manner through creation of interdependent agri-eco systems where annual crop plants (e.g. wheat), perennial trees (e.g. horticulture) and animals (including fishes where relevant) are integrated on a given field or property.
With the increasing demand/markets for organic products, the certification and regulation of the organic sector came into being and thrived. However, organic agriculture should not be fully equated with certified organic farming or labeled organic, which is basically a third-party assurance for commercial and marketing mechanism. Organic farming is an agriculture that takes into account and employs knowledge, skills and understanding of naturally occurring processes to maintain and enhance soil fertility and control insect-pests and diseases; while the certified organic farming is essentially the same but there is an addition of checks and balances for monitoring the entire process.
About 74% farmers in India are small and marginal farmers. Organic agriculture is most relevant to them. In this farming system approach a piece of land is used optimally and to its fullest potential to produce a range of nutritious and healthy food as well as other required commodities in a manner which can healthily feed a small family, and maintain soil health and productivity by agricultural practices based on principles of organic farming. Pests (both insects and diseases) are also controlled and managed by the selection of crop mixes and using biological control measures.
Emergence of organic agriculture in India
From the state of an unknown opportunity in agriculture in the beginning to being talked about a viable alternative tool to address some of the ills of Indian agriculture, organic agriculture has made a credible performance during the past ten years in India. It is the combined effect of farmers’ efforts, NGOs work, Govt interventions and market forces that Indian organic agriculture has reached a stage where it can swiftly move to occupy a prominent space in Indian agriculture.
As a consequence, with less than 42,000 ha under certified organic farming during 2003-04, the organic agriculture has grown almost 30 fold during the last 5 years!! By March 2009 India has brought more than 9.2 million ha area under organic certification process. Out of this cultivated area accounts for 1.2 million ha while remaining 8.0 million ha is wild harvest collection area.
|S.No.||Years||Area under Organic management in Ha|
National Project on Organic Farming, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (i.e. National Agriculture Development Project) and National Horticulture Mission schemes of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India) has significantly contributed to this growth. Many State Governments have also contributed to the growth of organic in their own states. Service Provider scheme launched under National Project on Organic Farming received wide acclaim and roped in more than 2.79 lakh farmers and brought more than 1.77 lakh ha area under organic management within this project alone. Another successful initiative under the programme is financial support for establishment of organic input production units. Till March 2009 a capacity has been created for the conversion of 708 MT of agro waste/per day into compost, 5606 MT/ annum of biofertilizer production and 69,214 MT/ annum of vermiculture + vermicompost production. For capacity building, the project has organized more than 4700 training programmes and over 6750 demonstration- efforts to create awareness, transfer technology and motivates farmers to adopt organic farming successfully.
Other than the Union Government (Central), as many as 12 states (India’s Federal states) have defined their own organic policies; and four of them have also declared their intention to go 100% organic in due course of time. As an example, recently on 26th January 2009, one state Karnataka launched a Karnataka Organic Agriculture Mission with an ambitious plan to promote organic as an important value addition for domestic and international market, allocating a budget of INR 10 million for these initiatives.
For quality assurance the country has internationally acclaimed certification process in place for export, import and domestic markets. By 2010, India has 20 accredited certification agencies looking after the requirement of certification process and the products certified by them are accepted in countries all over the world.
Overall status of organic production projects, processors, quantity produced, quantity exported and the value of export (Year 2008-09)
|1.||Area under Organic certification Process (ha)
|2.||No. of Farmers under Organic certification Process
|3.||Number of operators||1812|
|4.||Number of processors||276|
|5.||Number of grower groups||886|
|6.||Number of exporters||299|
|7.||Total Production (MT)||1,811,111|
|8.||Total quantity exported (MT)||53,918|
|9.||Value of export in US $||118.99 million|
|10.||Value of export in INR Rs.||571.12 crores|
Future prospects & Markets
Global demand for organic products is growing at 15-25%. The sales of organic products worldwide are touching US$ 50 billion and are expected to reach USD 100 billion by 2012. Consumer demand for organic products still is concentrated in North America and Europe; but new markets are emerging albeit slowly in the Asian region. The trade estimate In India shows that the market for organic products have crossed USD 140 million in 2009 (exports at USD 120 million, i.e. INR 5500 million; and the domestic markets touching 30 million, i.e. INR1350 million)
Consumer demand for organic products still is touching US$ 50 billion and are expected to reach USD 100 billion by 2012.