Are you up for a change this year?
“Shop Locally, eat Seasonal, reduce Plastic and of course go with Organic Farming”
Sir Albert Howard is widely considered to be the “Father of Organic Farming”.
The Existing Picture
India had been practically following organic agriculture till the 50s. India mainly exports organic processed food products, organic rice, beverages and other cereals and millets to the US, Canada, Europe, and South East Asian countries, which are the major global markets for organic food products. India is the 10th leading country in the world in terms of organic food products.
India is gifted with various types of naturally available organic form of nutrients in different parts of the country which helps for organic cultivation of crops substantially. Agriculture generally plays a vital role in the economy of the nation. Not only for the reason that tends to feed the entire population but also in the sense that agriculture correlates and integrates with all sectors of the country. The country is generally regarded as a social and politically stable base of agriculture.
Organic farming is one of the alternative agricultural systems, which is being followed from ancient times. This is particularly created in response to rapidly changing farming practices. In another way, Organic farming can be defined as one of the ways of farming which exclude the use of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, etc.
Principles of Organic Farming
Today, chemical fertilizers can add all these nutrients to the soil. However, organic fertilizers can add only a few. Some organic fertilizers directly add nutrients, example – compost. Some organic fertilizers make the nutrients available from the environment, example – nitrogen-fixing bacteria/ NiF.
Organic fertilizers are chemical free and are not only good for the plant but also provide nourishment to the soil. One can make it on their own or even get it from the market. Some are dry while some are in liquid form.
Now, the increasing numbers of farmers are switching to growing food without chemicals or pesticides. They know how the chemicals enter the food chain and are a cause of increased cancer patients in the country. Also, people in urban areas are very health conscious and are concerned about their eating habits.
Importance of Organic-fertilizers
India has the 2nd largest agricultural land in the world, with nearly sixty percent rural Indian households making their living from agriculture. And, thus it is creating a huge scope for Agri-tech startups in the country.
Lay of the Land
The technology adoption in agriculture sector is low and if coupled with inadequate talent, the creation and growth of agriculture startups are facing high challenges.
Price is another issue that can hinder the growth of organic agriculture. In developed countries, people are ready to pay a premium for organic food. That has not been observed in India except for a few places in metros. Organic agriculture may not be able to replace conventional mode of farming, but may definitely help progressive farmers earn more money. This is possible only when there is an availability of the right market. If companies like BigBasket, D-Mart can market organic produce in the right way, and if they can pass on the additional profits to farmers, it would definitely prove to be a good business for farmers.
Today, even the government is also promoting organic agriculture by bringing in NPOP certifications and other policies to encourage farmers to adopt organic methods. This movement towards environmental awareness will certainly go a long way in building a future of chemical-free agriculture.
—Shrishaill Gherade, Maharashtra (Farmer)
“Considering the change that is happening, it is obvious that organic farming would be adopted by more and more farmers”.
—V. Kondala, Hyderabad (Farmer)
By observing overall agricultural scenario, with today’s increasing demand, I feel Organic Agriculture is the future of India.
—Prakash Jambhale (Farmer)
“Need of the hour is to promote integrated farming. This kind of farming includes 50% of inputs from organic sources and remaining from inorganic sources. This not only promotes the growth of crops based on changing needs but also maintains the health of the soils”
–Siddharth Dialani (The Founder & Director at LeanCrop Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd.)
Agriculture Industry–the most significant part of the Indian economy; is now embracing new-age technologies with an aim to improve the efficiency of various agriculture based operations. Organic Farming is benefitting the planet and wellbeing by saving energy, providing cleaner air, protecting soil and conserving natural habitat.
According to an industry insider, India currently holds a prominent position among nearly 172 countries that actively practice organic agriculture. At present, the country is home to many of the organic producers, processors, exporters, and overall 7, 20,000 hectares is under cultivation. However, with only a meager close to 0.4 percent of the total agricultural land area designated for organic cultivation, it is evident that this industry still has a long way to go in terms of growth.
From my perspective, since we are at the initial stages of embracing organic food segment India, both the government and other private players will have to develop some strong policy framework that can benefit all involved.
For now, it can only be safely concluded that the industry (Organic Farming) holds massive growth potential, provided it have to receives steady investment, and benefits from both existing and new initiatives, which can promote its growth, as simple as that!
Happy Healthy Year!
-Shruti P. Jambhale