Indian farming reveals an untapped potential reviewing the list of 172 countries practicing organic agriculture worldwide since only 0.4% of total agricultural land is under organic cultivation. In 2015, the export and domestic market of the Indian organic industry grew by 30% and 40% respectively. Organic farming has seen a drastic overall development in almost every crop type due to increase in awareness in food security and environmental safety. Health conscious consumers today will support the growth of the organic agricultural sector in many ways.
According to WHO, the total global organic food market presently is around $37 billion. Of this $14 billion market is for herbal plants and medicines, which is expected to reach $5 trillion by the year 2050. According to International Fund for Agriculture and Development (IFAD), India has more than 15,000 certified organic farms.
Organic farms are generally more profitable and environmental friendly, as it uses fewer chemicals and the residue is comparatively less chemical-intensive. It provides many ecological benefits and delivers nutritious food. Studies show that practicing organic systems over a long period of time can also provide equal yields or even outdo the conventional methods. It is necessary for organizations working in the organic food business to increase awareness among customers in non-metro cities. Sikkim, India’s North-Eastern State, with 75,000 hectares of land under organic cultivation is an organic state. By 2030, Meghalaya, another northeast state of India also eyes to convert 200,000 hectares of land into organic cultivation. In Kerala, more than 100,000 farmers are adopting the organic farming practices.
Due to climate changes, organic farming has made an important place around the globe. The Indian Government is promoting organic farming through various schemes under National Mission Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA). The Government has introduced Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY) and Organic Value Added Development (OVCDNER) schemes under the NMSA to promote organic farming in the country. In this scheme, the state governments, based on cluster for every 20 hectare land, will support farmers by offering financial assistance for maximum one hectare land. The Government has allocated about $730 for every hectare of land during the period of transformation for three years. The Government of India also announced an investment of almost $15 million towards organic market development and around $44 million for the participatory guarantee scheme (PGS) which is an organic quality assurance system that certifies producer that are active participating in organic farming.
The recent seminar on organic farming, conducted by the Chandigarh State Agricultural Marketing Board in collaboration with Kheti Virasat Mission of Punjab to promote sustainable & ecological farming practice, was an attempt to promote the eco-friendly concept of cultivation. The seminar was attended by experts, farmers, counselors and teachers in order to promote organic farming, reducing the dependency of chemicals and fertilizers for the farmer’s and eventually the end consumers benefit. The seminar was an attempt to make Chandigarh and surrounding regions adopt organic farming. Further, to reduce the use of chemicals fertilizers and pesticides, the State Department of Agriculture in Goa launched a state sector scheme to promote organic farming. The scheme provides 50% assistance on cost of organic inputs, of approximately $150 per hectare and maximum up to 2 hectares per beneficiary.
To reduce the adverse effect of burning crops and global warming, the Bulandshahr District Administration, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, requests farmers to take up organic farming and grow multiple crops. The intention was to spread awareness about the demerits of crop burning and to promote weather-resistant farming in order to minimize the damage caused by the unpredictable weather changes. To ensure the food security in India, a scientist from Central Arid Zone Research Centre (CAZRI), Arum Kumar Sharma, initiated practicing and promoting organic farming in Dantiwara village, Rajasthan. In his eight years of intensive research at CAZRI, his team came up with a conclusion that organic farming is the cure of all ill-effects caused by using chemical fertilisers and pesticides. He believes that Green Revolution has to come into action focusing on organic practices instead of chemical farming by concentrating on 60% of dryland, we have today. Around 400 Bigha agricultural lands in Dantiwara have been put under organic farming practices with constant motivation and spreading the word throughout the country.
India has been self sufficient in food staples for over a decade now. Organic agriculture will prosper in India and will contribute in feeding 1.5 billion people by 2030. According to statistics by Assocham and TechSci, the organic farming market in India will reach around $1.36 billion by 2020 with a growth rate of 25-30% per year. Organic farming is rapidly growing in India and investors agree that challenges do exist in this sector but as soon as awareness and educational training about the benefits and the set-up of organic farming is spread to the farmers, a positive economic outcome will follow.
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