In A bid to encourage organic farming and boost the export of organic farm products from the country, the government has formulated a short-term certificate course in organic farming.
The programme, developed in collaboration with Apeda and IGNOU, is expected to address the manpower requirement for trained personnel in organic farming sector, minister of state for commerce Jairam Ramesh said.
The international demand for organic farm products is on the rise, especially from the EU.
The six-month IGNOU-Apeda organic farming programme will be the first such full-fledged educational and training programme being offered in the country, the minister said in a statement issued here.
The programme would be made available to students, farmers and certifying personnel seeking enrolment to the course from the coming academic year, it added. Any person with secondary school qualification (10+2) in any part of the country could enrol for the course.
Currently, India has 1.7 million hectares of area under certified organic farming. The organic market in the country is valued at Rs 100 crore with an annual growth rate steadily going up from 35% to an estimated 50% by 2010.
India is also becoming a major base for production and supply of organically produced agricultural products to the world market.
The global market for organic farm produce is expected to touch $100 billion by 2010.
IGNOU’s school of agriculture, aims to promote sustainable agriculture by broad-basing and upgrading the knowledge level of the Indian farming community.
The commerce department hopes that the new programme would serve to improve domestic production and exports of organic products from India. The commerce department set up a national programme for organic production in April 2000 to realise the potential of organic farm goods.
Maintaining strict quality control standards, India’s NPOP ensures that export of only those products take place which adhere to specified standards.