Written by: Dr. Amit Mishra
The socio-economic system has shown Next-Generation trends of change in modern times. In recent years, there has been remarkable progress in the Organic sector of Agriculture or Organic Farming. Recently, North-eastern state of India, Sikkim has received global recognition as the first fully Organic state (100% Organic state) ensuring agroecological and food sustainability, thereby creating a distinct value in tourism. The article discusses Organic Farming, its importance in the modern context, and the future prospects of its business in India.
The current Indian Organic market is estimated at INR 4 crores and is likely to enhance to INR10-12 crores by the year 2020 with a similar trend in exports. Its domestic market is growing at a rate higher than the global average and is expected to grow at a 25% CAGR by 2020.
What is Organic about Organic Farming?
Organic farming is a biological-based agricultural production system. It is the use of modern techniques to obtain maximum crop yield with the use of animal manure, organic waste, crop-rotation, and biological pest control without harming the environment and the people involved in it.
After evaluating the pros and cons of chemical-based farming (using Fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, growth hormones, antibiotics) and Genetically modified crops (GMOs), Green Revolution of 1960s, initiated by Nobel Peace Prize winner of the 1970 and the “Father of the Green Revolution”, Norman E. Borlaug, the global society decided to go for Organic farming which has made a big impact in these years as the best alternative food production system in the world for the rapidly growing world population.
In the business perspective, it has come up with a profitability option to meet the increasing demand for safe food, healthcare, and cosmetics for people highly generous towards their health and lifestyle.
Why Organic Farming is so important today?
Anthropogenic impact on the environment has been devastating in recent years in the form of global warming, biodiversity loss, choking pollution all leading to human extinction risk.
The steep rise in the number of persons suffering from lifestyle disorders like Cancer, Diabetes, stroke, asthma due to environmental population has raised the opportunity for Start-up business in Organic sector.
Organic Farming benefits are
- Organic foods are a better choice than conventional foods with respect to nutritional value.
- Organically grown Fruits and vegetables contain higher levels of anti-oxidants (anti-cancerous) than traditional foods.
- Organically grown foods have much better taste and are fresh.
- The business is profitable because of the elimination of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, chemicals, etc.
- It reduces the rate of global warming by absorbing carbon.
- It is eco-friendly and is beneficial for flora (plants) and fauna (animals) of an ecosystem.
Statistics related to Organic Farming in India
In India, there is an increasing demand for organic food because of product taste, concerns for the environment and a desire to avoid foods from genetically engineered organisms. India currently ranked 9th position among the 178 countries that are actively involved in the practice of organic agriculture. At present, India is a dwelling place to more than 835,000 organic producers, 699 processors, 669 exporters and 1.49 million ha area under organic cultivation.
The use of organic farming in India currently faces several challenges including difficulty in its application to industrial-scale farming, low profitability as well as mainstream consumer standards for quality that are difficult for organic growers to meet.
Recent initiatives taken by the Government of India has boosted the growth of Organic Farming sector in India. Some of the popular schemes are Soil Health Card Scheme (SHC), National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), National Agriculture Market (e-NAM), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY), Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER), etc.
Recently, Modi government has announced to celebrate 3rd December of every year as National Agricultural Education Day in memory of the first President and the first Food and Agriculture Minister of the Country, Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
We urgently need to think of innovative ways to optimize scale and maintain profitability for organic products. Furthermore, it’s important to take the steps necessary to discourage the use of fertilizers and pesticide, coupled with the promotion of biofertilizers and biopesticides to decrease the cost of cultivation. Apart from organic food and beverages markets, there are health and wellness, beauty and personal care market opportunities which have grown immensely in recent years.