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Organic Farming in India
This article deals with ‘Organic Farming in India.’ This is part of our series on ‘Economics’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 and GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.
A system of farm design for agriculture production without synthetic external inputs such as chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides and synthetic hormones or genetically modified organisms
As of 2023, 45 lakh farmers are engaged in Organic Farming, and 60 l ha is under Organic Farming in India. Additionally, Sikkim was the first Indian state to become completely organic.
Need for Organic Farming in India
- More From Less: ‘Green Revolution’ is input-intensive and has reached a plateau with diminishing returns. Organic Farming is not input-intensive and fetches higher prices. Hence, it can help farmers increase the return rate on investments.
- Organic farming products are healthier and safer than non-organic farming products.
- Organic Farming is more sustainable and helps maintain the soil’s good health.
- With increasing disposable income and a sizeable middle class, there is a ready market for Organic Products, especially in metropolitan cities.
- Export Potential is high because of higher demand in Western countries.
- It has indirect benefits in the form of eco-tourism, protection of biodiversity etc.
- Climate Change Mitigation: Organic farming practices like organic manure usage, agroforestry, and soil conservation techniques help sequester carbon in the soil, contributing to climate change mitigation.
Challenges and Concerns
- Productivity per field decreases: Sikkim used to be a surplus state wrt food production. Now it has to import from other states.
- Limited availability of Organic Inputs: Organic Farming requires specific inputs such as organic fertilizers, pesticides, and seeds. However, the availability and accessibility of these inputs are often limited.
- Organic Farming caters to a very small and particular class of market. There are logistic problems in delivering products to that market.
- Certification and Standards: Obtaining organic certification is a rigorous process and can be time-consuming and costly for small to medium Indian farmers.
- To start organic Farming, the existing field has to be left fallow for a minimum of 5-6 years to cleanse it of chemical fertilizers. It poses a burden on poor farmers.
- The growing period of organic products is long, decreasing the avenues of multiple cropping.
- The shelf life of organic products is low.
- Lack of awareness and education: Many farmers in India are unaware of organic farming practices and the benefits it offers.
- Climate Change Vulnerability: Climate change poses a significant threat to agriculture as increased weather variability, extreme weather events, and changing pest and disease patterns can impact organic crop production
Case Study of Sri Lanka
- The Sri Lankan Government was promoting Organic Farming with vigour due to the great demand for organic products (especially organic tea) in the Western markets. But this decreased the crop yield exponentially, leading to food shortage and inflation.
- Hence, the Sri Lankan government has changed its stance and again started encouraging farmers to use fertilizers and pesticides so that their output returns to its previous normal.
Government Programs to promote Organic Farming
- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY): Form a group of 50 farmers in a cluster to start Organic Farming. Every beneficiary farmer is given ₹20,000 per ha for 3 years for practising Organic Farming.
- Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati (BPKP): Under the scheme, Rs. 12,200 per hectare is given to the farmer per 3 years if they don’t use any chemicals on their land.
- National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture: The scheme promotes Organic Farming and is part of the National Action Plan to Combat Climate Change.
- FSSAI Regulation on Organic Farming, 2018: It has standardized the definition of Organic Farming, set the mandatory labelling requirements & has given a Voluntary Logo (Jaivik Bharat Logo) of Organic Food.
- Large Area Certification Program (LAC): The Government of India’s initiative to provide certification to areas which are traditionally involved in doing organic Farming (such as Tribal belts, Hills, Deserts, Islands etc.)
- Agriculture Ministry has launched the ‘Jaivik Kheti Portal’ to connect farmers doing Organic Farming with buyers.
- In the north-eastern states, the Government has started ‘Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region’ to strengthen organic agriculture in the North East.
Owing to these steps, Sikkim has become the first state in India (and the world) to become fully organic. Other states, such as Tripura and Uttarakhand, are on the verge of becoming organic. Furthermore, MP has the largest area under organic Farming among all the states.