This article is based on the news appeared in the Hindubusinessline.com on4th April 2017.
Organic farming is now reviving across India, and the world. The area under such cultivation is expected to increase from 7 lakh hectare (ha) now to 20 lakh ha by 2020.
Before the onset of Green Revolution in the 1960s, organic farming was widely in use, but productivity was low. India was forced to depend on imports due to acute shortages. During the Revolution (1960s-1980s), food production increased but its benefits did not reach farmers.
Due to excessive use of fertilizers and irrigation, soil fertility, ground water quality and volumes were impacted very negatively.
“In the 1980s, farmers revived organic farming and, in the 1990s they discovered new commercial opportunities,” Manoj Kumar Menon, Executive Director, International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (ICCOA), Bengaluru says. “In 2001, the Government of India announced a national policy on growth of organic products. The confirmed area under certified organic farming increased from just 42,000 ha in 2003-04 to 7 lakh ha now. In fact, in 2016-17, the overall area under certified management for organic farming is 11.8 lakh ha, including area under-conversion in Year-1, Year-2 and Year-3 stages.”
Among the organic crops, the largest area, at 3.8 lakh ha, is under cotton cultivation. Other popular organic agro-products include high-value soya bean, fruits and vegetables, cereals and basmati rice, tea, coffee and milk, he said.
The high cost of certification is one major reason for these products being expensive. Issues like logistics and supply chain management also add to the price. This is because organic production centers are few in numbers and scattered over far-flung areas. Comparatively conventional centers see lower costs due to higher volumes. Thus, organic products are priced anywhere between 20 per cent and 75 per cent higher than the conventional ones.
The Indian market for organic products is export-focused. Out of the estimated ₹5,000-crore market, ₹3,800 crore comes from exports. It is expected to cross the $1.50 billion (about ₹10,000 crore) mark by 2020.
Global demand for organic products is growing at 20-25 per cent per annum. India’s market itself is growing at a whooping 40-50 per cent. The worldwide sale is expected to increase from $80 billion in 2015 to a massive $100 billion in 2017.
ICCOA partnered with the Karnataka government to host the ‘National Trade Fair 2017 – Organics and Millets’ in Bengaluru in April.