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‘Nothing Will Happen, If You Leave Everything To Government’, CEO Niti Ayog
“India needs both food security and organic farming as important practices”, Amitabh Kant.
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India has yet to discover the tremendous potential of organic farming. Organic farming trade globally amounts to 80 billion US dollars and India stands in the ninth position in the world when it comes to the cultivation area used for organic farming. During the launch of a report by Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relation (ICRIER), a major think tank on the topic ‘Organic Farming in India’. There were multiple unexplored facts that had come up during the scholarly discussion.
Chief executive officer of Niti Ayog Amitabh Kant addressing the issue of government’s response to the development of organic farming said, “If you leave everything to the government, nothing will happen”. Speaking to BW Businessworld Amitabh said ‘India needs both food security and organic farming as important practices. He also emphasized upon the scale of economies for organic farming. We have to create an environment for better returns in organic farming for a better practice, said Amitabh.
Answering to the revenue perspective from organic farming, former agriculture secretary of India, Siraj Hussain told BW Businessworld that organic farming returns very good results and if farmers start practising it, they will be getting a better and sustainable output.
Arpita Mukherjee, the professor who spearheaded the entire research had made some critical observations in the report. Standards of different classes had created confusion among farmers. The report has revealed that how different agencies have different standards for organic produce. It has also been said that how different standards create hurdles in exports of organic products. The report had quoted that organic companies are growing at a pace of 14 per cent in India.
Another revelation is the involvement of complicated certification paper work coupled with the huge cost involved in it. Counsellor for trade and economic affairs for the delegation of European Union (EU) to India, Wojciech Dziworski had said that EU has a standard of using locally grown organic product which gives immense potential to India for selling its local organic varieties in EU, for instance, mango and basmati rice.
Continuing with the critical issues covered in the report, it has been said that there are 117 laboratories in India that run on the standards set by food safety and standards authority of India (FSSAI). Contamination during transportation of organic goods is also a major area which hampers the quality of organic food. The report had also suggested that the union government have a long and short vision for organic farming in India to deal with various factors that indirectly threaten the future of organic farming in India. It had also been recommended for Mandi’s to have an audit trail for various products. Such audit trail will make it easy to identify the core issue of tracking the origin of stocks.
Few highlights from the report are-
No regulation for domestic market and import (FSSAI is still working on it).
No harmonised system classification for organic products.
More than 85.33 per cent of companies involved in the organic food chain, doubled their revenue in the last two years.
India’s export of organic products had increased by 17 per cent in terms of volume over the Year 2015-16, 2016-17.
Out of 418 farmers that had been surveyed across India, around 95 per cent were satisfied with organic farming.
A clear definition of the term ‘organic’ is the need of the hour.