Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | January 3, 2008

Organic farming gains momentum in India

Organic agriculture movement is gaining in momentum in the country. The area under organic cultivation is likely to cross the 2 million hectare mark by 2012, according to National Centre for Organic Farming (NCOF), a body under the Union Ministry of Agriculture.  This means a growth of nearly 4 times from the present 528,000 hectares, which includes both certified and in-conversion lands.  According to Bangalore-based International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (ICCOA), a government recognised not-for-profit organisation promoting organic farming, organic farming is witnessing a growth of over 40 per cent year-on-year.  While the domestic market for organic products is estimated at Rs 560 crore last year, the exports were in excess of Rs 250 crore.  The Indian organic produce is mainly exported to Japan, Netherlands, Italy, France, Switzerland, the UK and USA.  Said Manoj Kumar Menon, Executive Director, ICCOA, “The major reason for the growth in organic farming is increased awareness among consumers in the country. Till now organic food was mainly being exported. But over the last couple of years, the domestic market has started growing. Many state governments have woken up to the importance of organic farming and have announced several incentives for farmers to go organic.”  The fact that organic movement has gained a wider acceptance was evident at the recently-concluded ‘India Organic 2007’, a trade fair and seminar.  The third edition of India’s first organic products trade fair, which was held for the first time in Delhi (Bangalore hosted the event in 2005 and 2006) saw participation of a record 184 companies and 25 state governments and 12 countries. The event generated business enquiries worth Rs 150 crore, a growth of 80 per cent over 2006, Menon said.  The fair, organised by NCOF, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Switzerland and ICCOA, witnessed 15,000 business visitors and key policy makers from the Central ministries and state governments.  The buyer-seller meet was a huge success. Large number of participants showed interest to have trade interactions with Indian organic producers. Out of 128 such meets, 58 B2B meets were held with foreign buyers directly.  Workshop on organic cotton and marketing of organic products, organic food festival and farmers meet were the other highlights of India Organic 2007.  Impressed with the progress made by the country in organic, the ministry of agriculture, government of Sri Lanka has invited by ICCOA to prepare a strategy for domestic market development in Sri Lanka, Menon said. The Sri Lanka government has also asked ICCOA to help them organise a trade fair on the lines of India Organic in Sri Lanka.  In India, the governments of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Assam have also invited ICCOA to organise the organic trade fair in their states.



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