Indian farmers have started to reap dividends from their budding interest in organic farming. It wasn’t long back, around seven years ago, when Indian farmers started to go organic.
In 2006-07, around 4.32 lakh ha reported organic produce — a large portion came from wild and non-agricultural land — which has now reached around 11 lakh ha, as per the recent report ‘The World of Organic Agriculture, 2013’ by FiBL and IFOAM (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements).
The current market for organic foods in India is pegged at Rs.2,500 crore, which according to ASSOCHAM, is expected to reach Rs.6,000 crore by 2015.
It’ll still leave us at 1% of the global market. Thus, a huge potential is seen in the nascent Indian organic sector.
“Apart from states like Sikkim or MP, we’re seeing a rising interest in Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, UP and Bihar,” says Chandra.
India outnumbers every other country in terms of organic producers — with an estimated 5,47,591.
Organic products, which until now were mainly being exported, are now finding consumers in the domestic market.
“Even Tier II cities like Nagpur, Allahabad, Gorakhpur and Bhatinda show an increase in organic consumption,” says Sunil Kumar, AGM at Morarka Rural Research Foundation.
According to a survey of 1,000 consumers in ten cities done by Morarka Organic Foods, around 30% of Indian consumers preferred organic products and were even prepared to pay 10 to 20% more for them.
“Soil abused by chemical fertiliser excesses takes more time to produce comparable yields. Although, the cost of organic cultivation is much less, reducing cost incurred in purchasing costly inputs,” says Rohitashwa Ghakar, Project Head, International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture.
In our day-to-day activities, we actually release substantial amount of toxic substances into the environment.
Have you ever think about the shampoo, soap and cleaning detergent that you use. Many of them contain chemicals that are washed down the sinks and pipes, into drains, rivers, reservoirs or even the sea.
Think about the fast-food lunch you had. In the process of producing the bread, meat patty and salad for the burger, chemicals in the form of pesticides, man-made fertilizers and even hormones are released into the lands, water and air. The wrappers used in packaging the meal is bound for the landfills and incinerators (because it is very hard to recycle them). In turn, harmful gases are released when the wrappers (as well as other waste) are buried or burnt.
Think about the car that you drive to work, or even the bus or cab that you take to your office. These vehicles emit greenhouse gases (contributing to global warming) and toxic substances like lead (harmful to living things, including the human body) into the atmosphere.
And we have yet to reach the part on the amount of chemicals and poisonous gases produced by factories and industries, in the process of manufacturing the various items we use (eg. electronics, clothes, paper and plastic products, furniture, packaged food etc), or extracting energy resources (eg. oil, coal, etc) from the earth.
In our modern day life, it may be hard to leave zero trace of toxic substances, or create zero pollution in our activities. So many of the things that we use on a daily basis contain some form of chemicals, or are produced through the use of some chemicals. Despite the pollution caused, we would still need to travel to work, whether by private or public transport. And we definitely need to consume food.
GREEN SOLUTION. GET GREEN.
Consider switching to more natural cleaners and personal products, such as natural detergents, or organic detergents, as well as organic shampoos and lotions. Made of natural substances instead of man-made chemicals, minimal harmful chemicals are used in the process of their production. At the same time, these natural products are ready bio-degradable and do little harm even when released into the environment, because they are found in the natural environment in the first place.
Switch to organically grown food if you can. Organically grown food is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that would harm the environment, as well as hormones or genetic re-engineering. What’s more, organically grown food are so much healthier, because they are free of carcinogens and heavy metals (as a result of the synthetic chemicals), as well as more nutritious. And keep away from fast-food!
Also, what does going green mean in practice is to drive less, and use the public transport instead. You can even opt for carpool service in case the option is available. Automobiles are one of the single largest sources of air pollution on earth today, and the harmful gases released contribute to global warming and climate changes. By taking public transport (such as buses and trains), you are actually helping to reduce the number of automobiles on this earth, and hence the amount of air pollution produced by these vehicles.
Organic farming in India is the form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control. Organic farming is done using only natural and organic materials. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Increasing environmental awareness in the general population has transformed the originally supply-driven movement to a demand-driven one. Most of the western countries import coco peat blocs from India.
OFAI was set up by the Indian organic farming community, environmentalists and social activists in order to promote organic farming, lobby for its official adoption by the Indian government, assist farmers dependent on chemicals to convert to organic systems, help organic farmers with marketing their organic produce and advise its members on how to educate their children outside the urban-oriented school system so that they could be excellent stewards of the lands they inherit.
Advantages of using organic foods
- Health: Organic foods are produced without the use of pesticides that could cause serious illnesses
- Good for the animals: People who eat organic are happy to know the animals are not confined to a caged life, pumped full of hormones, or treated badly.
- Environmental Safety: Harmful chemicals are not used in organic farming, and there is minimal soil, air, and water pollution being produced. Also, many organic farmers donate/support causes to help save the planet.
- Better taste: Most people strongly believe organic foods taste better than non-organic foods. This could be because they are much fresher.
Many people are realizing the benefits of eating organic and are trying to do their part by buying all of their foods organic.