The growth story of organic farming is unfolding with the expanding demand not only in India but throughout the world.
In a world battered by the COVID pandemic, the demand for healthy and safe food shows an upward trend. Hence, this is an opportune moment to capture a win-win situation for our farmers, consumers, and the environment.
India ranked first in the number of organic farmers and ninth in terms of area under organic farming.
Sikkim became the first state in the world, which became fully organic and other countries such as Tripura and Uttarakhand who have set corresponding shots.
Northeast India has traditionally been organic, and the consumption of chemicals is far less than the rest of the country. Similarly, the tribal island territories are being nurtured to continue their organic story.
To assist farmers in adopting organic farming and improving remunerations due to premium prices, two dedicated programs, namely Mission organic value chain development for the Northeast region and Paramparagat Krishi Vigyan Yojna, were launched in 2015 to encourage chemical-free farming.
With simultaneous thurst given by Agri export policy 2018, India can emerge as a significant champion organic markets.
The majority of India’s organic exports have been flax seeds, sesame, soybean, tea, rice, and pulses, which were instrumental in driving an increase of nearly 50% in organic exports touching Rs 5151crore in 2018-19. When the pandemic struck India, passage to quality food was high on priority for the country as much as health.
Advisories to state on supporting direct marketing to decongest mandis led to several countries issuing orders and amending legislation, thereby opening upmarket options to farmers.
Working within the constraints posed due to disruptions in logistics, access to regular markets, decrease in demand converted this crisis into an opportunity. Pandemic made the online sale of fruits and vegetables by FPOs in Maharashtra and doorstep delivery in specially designed electric vans in Punjab.
Manipur Organic Agency (MoMA) mobilized all the 15 FPCs of MOVCD to collect produce and transport to two organic wholesale centres at Sanjenthong and Chingmeriong in Imphal for onward delivery to consumers. The organic e-commerce platform is being strengthened for directly linking farmers with retail as well as bulk buyers.
Natural farming is not a new concept in India, farmers have tilled their land without the use of chemicals – mainly relying on organic residues, cow dung, composts, etc. since time immemorial.
With greater awareness and capacity building of the producers on compliance with international standards, Indian organic farmers will soon be reinforcing their rightful place in global Agri trade.
Written By-Mousami Jena
Image Courtesy: Google