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ORGANIC FARMING IN INDIA

29-June-2011 13:21 IST



Organic farming is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances health of agro-ecosystem related to bio-diversity, nutrient bio-cycle and soil biological and microbial activities. It is normally defined as a system of farming without use of chemical inputs (fertilizers/insecticides etc.) and is primarily based on principal of use of natural on farm organic inputs (like farm yard manure, green manure, oil cakes, press mud etc.) and also natural biological pest control and plant protection measures to promote agro-economic system and soil biological activity.

Growing Area
Organic farming in India started receiving focused attention from 2004-05 when National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF) was launched. In 2004-05, area under organic farming was 42,000 hectares. By March 2010 area under farming had increased to 1.08 million hectares. In addition, 3.40 million hectares is wild forest harvest collection area. Thus total area under organic certification process by March, 2010 was 4.48 million hectares which is 25 fold increase in last 6 years. In cultivated organic land 7.56 lakh hectares is certified while 3.2 lakh hectare is under conversion.

The States doing well in organic farming are Madhya Pradesh(4.40lakh hectares), Maharashtra (1.50 lakh hectares) and Orissa (95,000 hectares), having largest area under organic. Among crops cotton is the single largest crop accounting for nearly 40 percent of total area followed by rice, pulses, oilseeds and spices. India is the largest organic cotton grower in world, and accounts for 50 percent share of total world organic cotton production.

Nearly 6.00 lakh farmers under 920 grower groups produce 18.00 lakh tonnes of different organic commodities valued at Rs. 56-40 crores at farm gate price. Out of 18 lakh tonnes organic produce, 54000 tonnes of produce valued at Rs. 561 crores was exported. Export of organic products has also grown steadily over the years. Value of exports which was Rs. 301 crores in 2006-07 has increased to 525.5 crores in 2009-10.

States Adopting Organic Farming
Nine States have drafted organic farming policies. Out of these, four States viz; Uttarakhand, Nagaland, Sikkim and Mizoram have declared their intention to go 100 percent organic. Sikkim has already converted nearly 40 percent of its total cultivated area under organic and has set target to convert entire State to organic by 2015. Other States have also defined schemes to promote organic farming. Recently Bihar has sanctioned a scheme worth Rs. 256 crores for promotion of organic farming for period 2010-11 to 2014-15. This scheme is 100 percent State Plan Scheme and entire funds shall be borne by State Government. The Scheme funded by the Central Government will be in addition to this scheme.

Promotion of Organic Farming
Organic farming is being promoted under National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF), National Horticulture Mission (NHM) and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).

Regulatory Mechanism
For qualify assurance country has internationally acclaimed certification process in place for export, import and domestic markets. Foreign Trade Development and Regulation Act for exports and Agriculture Produce Grading, Marketing and Certification Act for domestic.

Assistance
Important components of assistance being provided under NPOF inter-alia include assistance to input production (large compost plants and bio-fertilizers), Quality control of organic inputs, Human resource development through trainings, PGS facilitation, Biological soil health assessment and awareness creation.

Main components under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and National Horticulture Mission (NHM) to assist organic farming are financial assistance to States for adoption and certification and financial assistance to States for vermin-compost production.

While need to maximize crop yield to meet the growing demand for food grains is critical, agricultural productivity has to be sustained in long run. There has been a deterioration in soil health due to removal of crop residues and indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers, aided by distorted prices. To address these issues, the Government proposes to promote organic farming, methods, combining modern technology with traditional farming practices like green manuring, biological pest control and weed management. These measures will give further push to organic farming. (PIB Features)


*Inputs from Ministry of Agriculture


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