The organic farming market is looking up in India. India stands at a juncture where the flipside of conventional agriculture stands exposed and organic farming is gaining leverage. There is a good chance that India’s organic food market could scale up from the present $500 million to about $2 billion, of which approximately $1 billion will be catering exclusively to the domestic market by 2020.
Increase in health awareness among customers is an important factor. The fact that the market is looking to give importance to the nutrient content and the quality of the food has augmented the organic food market. Financial assistance is being provided by the Indian government to the farmers who are adopting organic farming to encourage this practice. Innovative technological solutions using artificial intelligence, imaging and renewable energy among others are being developed by private companies and are greatly aiding the organic food industry.
India’s rank in terms of world’s organic agricultural land was ninth and in terms of the total number of producers, it has now ranked first. India produced around 1.70 million MT (2017-18) of certified organic products which includes all varieties of food products namely oil seeds, sugar cane, cereals and millets, cotton, pulses, medicinal plants, tea, fruits, spices, dry fruits, vegetables, coffee etc.
According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the demand for Indian organic food products is rising. India exported organic products worth $ 515 million in the 2017-2018 fiscal.
In addition to the growing domestic market, India is the second largest exporter of organic products in Asia after China. The increasing export market coupled with the enhanced governmental support is pushing organic cultivation in India. The major export destinations are the US, European Union, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan, Vietnam, Israel and Australia.
Indian organic food exports were estimated at $299 million during 2015-16 with a total volume of 263,688 MT. The total volume of export during 2017-18 was 4.58 lakh MT. In terms of export value realisation, oil seeds (47.6%) was the highest followed by cereals and millets (10.4%), plantation crop products such as tea and coffee (8.96%), dry fruits (8.88%), spices and condiments (7.76%) and others.
The recent pickup in e-commerce provides organic companies an added benefit. There are more than 25 e-commerce platforms selling organic foods online in India. Additionally, general grocery sites like Bigbasket and Peppertap are also selling organic items.
Sandeep Jalan, Managing Director, Be Organic Farm, Kolkata said, “We will definitely take the goodness of organic food products online. We strongly believe in the slogan ‘Live and Let Live.”
The Kerala Jaiva Karshaka Samithi, a 25-year-old organic farmers group in Kerala has achieved global recognition for their efforts in innovating organic farming. The group holds organic farming courses where both theory of organic farming and practical classes are held.
The Indian government is promoting organic farming through its two national level flagship programmes namely the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) and the National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF). Under the NPOF, organic farmers are being provided with the assistance of around 25% to 35% of the total cost of the project. Additionally, the Paramapragat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), and the National Mission on Oilseeds & Oil Palm (NMOOP) also promote organic cultivation.