Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar believes that India’s rapidly expanding production of organic agricultural goods can play a critical role in the future of the county’s organic food trade.
“Organic agriculture in India has made good progress during the last six years,” Pawar stated while speaking in front of the parliamentary consultative committee for his ministry on Wednesday. “With a combined effect of farmers’ efforts, NGOs’ work, government interventions and market forces, Indian organic agriculture has reached a stage where it can play a significant role not only in the growing domestic market, but also in global organic food trade.”
Pawar said his ministry is promoting and spreading organic farming throughout the country with a variety of state-funded projects like the National Horticulture Mission, the National Project on Organic Farming, the Technology Mission for the Northeast and Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.
“In India, as against 42,000 hectares under certified organic farming during the 2003-04, initial estimates for 2009-10 indicate organic agriculture under certification has grown to 1.05 million hectares. Out of this, nearly 750,000 hectares are fully certified while the remaining 300,000 hectares are under various stages of conversion.”
Pawar believes that organic farming is an ideal option for raid-fed, marginal land, and hilly areas and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research has initiated an All India Network Project on organic farming to scientifically test and prove the most effective methodologies in organic farming.
“Promotion of organic farming will not only ensure increased availability of organic and biological sources of nutrients, but will also provide technologies and information which help other forms of agriculture in restoring soil health and conservation of resources,” the minister said.
In addition to national initiatives in the organic farming field, a collection of state governments have also initiated their own organic farming promotion programs. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand have drafted policies for the promotion of organic farming and, of those, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand have declared that they wish to go 100 percent organic in the future.