The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare on Thursday (August 13, 2020) issued a statement that emphasized the growth potential of organic farming. “In a world battered by the COVID pandemic, the demand for healthy and safe food is already showing an upward trend and hence this is an opportune moment to be captured for a win-win situation for our farmers, consumers, and the environment”, it said.
India is ranked first in the number of organic farmers and ninth in terms of area under organic farming. Sikkim became the first state in the world to become fully organic along with Tripura and Uttarakhand setting similar targets.
The Ministry while highlighting Government’s initiatives towards chemical-free farming mentioned that, two programs were implemented in 2015 by the government, these are - Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD-NER) and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), to encourage the farmers to adopt organic farming and to improve the remuneration system.
Disruptions amid the on-going pandemic cannot be overlooked but, at the same time, many states and groups have converted this crisis into an opportunity. The best example being the Green Caravan of Kohima which created market connectivity between all villages of Nagaland to urban areas for vegetables, handicraft, and handlooms. Another such initiative is where the Manipur Organic Agency (MoMA) mobilized all the 15 Farmer Producer Centres of Mission Organic Value Chain Development (MOVCD) to collect produce and transport to two organic wholesale Centres in Imphal for the consumers.
The statement said that the organic e-commerce platform, such as ‘www.Jaivikkheti.com’, is being strengthened for directly linking farmers with retail as well as bulk buyers. It also states that in order to smoothen the marketing options for the farmers, many State governments have issued orders and amended legislation to open up direct marketing options.
Further on, the statement also stated that the consumers need to develop confidence for the organic produce and, in addition, it said, “The consumer should look for the logos of FSSAI, Jaivik Bharat / PGS Organic India on the produce to establish the organic authenticity of the produce”.
A major takeaway during the COVID-19 period has been the adaptability of digital technology by the general public in a much larger manner. "It is a welcome norm which is here to stay, saving in expenses on travel, logistics, etc. while not compromising in any way on the quality of information sharing", the statement said.