Organic farming has been growing rapidly in its stature in the last decade. The disadvantages of chemical farming such as soil pollution, environment pollution, diseases to the farmers, poor health of consumers of inorganic food, and so on have increased the popularity and demand of organic articles in the market.
According to a survey, which was first of its kind, by Switzerland-based Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and Germany-based International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements — Organics International (IFOAM), India is among the top 10 countries with 1.94 million hectares (mha) under organic cultivation in 2018.
At more than a million, the country also had the most number of organic farmers — over a third of the nearly 2.8 million across the world.
Global Growth in Organic Farming
There has been a steady increase in area under organic cultivation over the years. In 2018 there was an addition of 2.02 mha to organic cultivation in the world, which accounted to a 2.9 per cent increase. Asia contributed to the maximum increase at 8.9 per cent, followed by Europe at 8.7 per cent. North America saw an increase of 3.5 per cent, Oceania 0.3 per cent and Africa and Latin America at 0.2 per cent each).
Demand and Market share of Organic produce globally
The agency estimated organic food and drink sales at more than 95 billion euros in 2018, with the United States the single-largest market (42 per cent share), followed by the European Union (38.5 per cent) and China (8.3 per cent).
The highest market share of organic produce within a country was in Denmark: At 11.5 per cent, it was the first country to cross the 10 per cent mark, followed by Switzerland (9.9 per cent) and Sweden (9.6 per cent).
Organic Farming in India
Organic farming has always been native to India. Indian farmers have always practised nature-friendly farming in the past. It is only after the Green Revolution that the Indian farmers started using agro-chemicals excessively. The sustainability of this form of agriculture has been questioned severely by many in the current situation of agrarian crisis in the country.
The government of India has recognized this and is making attempts to promote more organic farming and Zero Budget Natural Farming in the country. The support from the government, low cost of techniques and high prices of the yield is encouraging farmers across the country to adopt organic farming. In fact, India accounts for 47% of the world’s organic cotton production. There are over 1.14 mln organic producers which account for 41% of the 2.8 mln global total.
Considering the multi-fold benefits of organic farming, the government of India needs to engage with the state governments to promote organic farming even more. It needs to gradually reduce fertilisers subsidy in order to reduce the reliance of farmers on them. It needs to mobilise more funds towards research and development in agriculture, encourage more young and enthusiastic people to participate in it, and develop a spirit of cooperative federalism to ensure that India takes a leadership position in the world in the field of sustainable agriculture practices.