Five major reasons for the growth in organic farming in India
Despite western influences in a burgeoning economy, some farmers in India still practice traditional techniques of agriculture. India has plenty of labor. The many regions of India have diverse climatic conditions best suited for agricultural production all around the year. These climatic conditions are a huge advantage and enable meeting the growing demand for organic food in the last few years. Farmers need to use to their advantage that they have to increase production to meet just not growing domestic requirements but also to export to emerging markets abroad at higher prices.
1.Increased awareness and sensitivity
In recent years, Indians have taken a liking to organic food in a big way. They are paying higher prices for organic food. Local demand is growing due to increased awareness about healthy living and food habits. Today, when you visit your local store, it is not uncommon to see an Indian holding up a packet and reading labels for nutritional contents of the product before purchase. This behavior is something that nobody did a decade ago or even five years ago. Driven by a highly developed culinary sensitivity and a knowledgeable nose for information, the average educated Indian is eating healthy. What is the reason for this new behavior? Is it just curiosity or a necessity driven out of desperation for self-preservation?
These behaviors are on the rise due to the readily available information on genetically modified foods (GMO), unsafe agricultural practices that are resulting in hazardous food products flooding the market. These are unsafe and unfit for human consumption as they are impacting human health with cancer-causing diseases and heretofore unknown illnesses. Who would think that today, we would have to think a hundred times before buying eggs, chicken or for that matter a packet of milk?
2.Higher disposable incomes
If an affluent Indian is making more trips to favorite organic stores, it is because of their higher disposable incomes. A growing economy has resulted in more jobs and higher revenues. Therefore, the combination of greater awareness of health consciousness and rising disposable incomes have proved profitable for the growing organic food industry in India. Organic food is expensive due to a higher cost of production. Currently, only the affluent domestic consumers can afford it. As demand grows, then the farming community will be able to increase output through the yields are lower in organic agriculture as compared foods produced inorganically.
3.Growing global demand
Besides, rising domestic orders, even global markets are demanding organic foods. Will our Indian agricultural community exploit this enormous opportunity?
4.The awareness of rise in illnesses and lethal diseases caused due to inorganic foods
A visit to a psychiatric hospital will reveal a frightening story. A significant increase in harmful diseases due to the side effects of eating inorganic foodstuffs is on the rise. Children and adults who have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), Bipolar, Schizophrenia, and other neurological disorders are on the rise due to overexposure to pesticides and herbicides.
Likewise, a casual visit to a hospital will tell that chronic illnesses such as diabetes, severe allergies, and terminal diseases such as colon cancers, brain tumors are on the rise.
Obesity in children, and little girls maturing faster, due to the oxytocin injections given to buffaloes and cows to produce more milk? Have you heard of anything more frightening? If this does not make you sit and notice, what will? A chemical called carbide is popularly used to ripen fruits such as mangoes, papayas, and bananas to shorten the time for ripening and to give them the nice uniform yellow color we have so grown used to seeing in stores and on the ‘bandis' or carts selling these fruits across India. Have you heard of anything more atrocious?
5.Rising prices of pesticides and chemicals
Even though the yields are more in chemical farming, the cost of production is increasing gradually. This increased cost is because due to higher taxation by the government such as GST. The farming community is finding it challenging to purchase chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides due to these increasing prices. Hence the cost of production is increasing.
What is the government doing to support farmers?
The government has launched a portal of organic farming. The government is promoting organic farming through many schemes and measures due to its concern for the soil fertility and water purity.
Though it still needs to put in place regulatory frameworks and policies for marketing organic foods, it is undertaking a lot of initiatives for the betterment of organic farmers. Sikkim is India's first organic state and government is urging other regions to adopt the same model.
To increase exports, the government Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has put in place policies for regulation. Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) has been formed for subsidies to farmers and taking out any restrictions on the quantity of organic food that farmers can export.
Additionally, the government is giving subsidies to farmers under another initiative called the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS), and it is also offering a self-certification process for organic food.
In conclusion, if the government initiates right policy measures, then organic farming can be expected to grow at more than 20% in the coming five years benefiting farmers. Additionally, it needs to protect the interests of farmers so that intermediaries and third parties do not marginalize them.