Before going into detail of what is organic food item industry first of all we need to understand that what is organic farming meaning of organic farming?

Organic farming means farming without the use of pesticides and other chemicals nowadays people are moving towards the use of organic farming because of which it will be the boom in the next coming year. 

Introduction:

In spite of our diet choices, organic food is the best choice you’ll ever make, and this means embracing organic farming methods. Here are the reasons why we need to take up organic farming methods. The concepts of organic agriculture were developed in the early 1900s by Sir Albert Howard, F.H. KingRudolf Steiner, and others who believed that the use of animal manures (often made into compost), cover crops, crop rotation, and biologically based pest controls resulted in a better farming system. Howard, having worked in India as an agricultural researcher, gained much inspiration from the traditional and sustainable farming practices he encountered there and advocated for their adoption in the West. Such practices were further promoted by various advocates—such as J.I. Rodale and his son Robert, in the 1940s and onward, who published Organic Gardening and Farming magazine and a number of texts on organic farming. 

Organic food, fresh or processed food produced by organic farming methods. Organic food is grown without the use of synthetic chemicals, such as human-made pesticides and fertilizers, and does not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Organic foods include fresh produce, meats, and dairy products as well as processed foods such as crackers, drinks, and frozen meals. The market for organic food has grown significantly since the late 20th century, becoming a multibillion dollar industry with distinct production, processing, distribution, and retail systems.

In India, the traditional method of agriculture was by default organic with negligible use of chemical inputs. However, the need to ensure food security led to the Green Revolution, which began in 1967. While India reached self-sufficiency in food grain production post-Green Revolution, the excessive use of chemical inputs resulted in the rapid degradation of soil and adversely impacted farmers’ health. From a consumer perspective, the increasing quantities of pesticides and fertilizers led to contamination of food and associated health damage. In the 1970s and 1980s, when consumers in the developed countries were shifting towards organic food products, the demand for products like organic tea and spices in key export markets such as the US, United Kingdom (UK), Germany, and Japan increased. The premium price that consumers were willing to pay for organic food products prompted some Indian companies to enter the organic food export business. However, the domestic demand for organic food products began only in the last decade. Survey based studies show that Indian consumers, especially those with middle to high levels of income and higher education, believe that organic food products are healthier and superior in quality to conventional products, and they are willing to pay a premium for such produce. This has created lucrative business opportunities for the entrepreneurs. 

In the light of above it is describe to need of organic food farming initiatives:

Need of Organic Food Industry:

To Accrue the Benefits of Nutrients

Foods from organic farms are loaded with nutrients such as vitamins, enzymes, minerals and other micro-nutrients compared to those from conventional farms. This is because organic farms are managed and nourished using sustainable practices. In fact, some past researchers collected and tested vegetables, fruits, and grains from both organic farms and conventional farms

Stay Away From GMOs

Statistics show that genetically modified foods (GMOs) are contaminating natural foods sources at real scary pace, manifesting grave effects beyond our comprehension. What makes them a great threat is they are not even labeled. So, sticking to organic foods sourced from veritable sources is the only way to mitigate these grave effects of GMOs.

Natural and Better Taste

Those that have tasted organically farmed foods would attest to the fact that they have a natural and better taste. The natural and superior taste stems from the well balanced and nourished soil. Organic farmers always prioritize quality over quantity.

Direct Support to Farming

Purchasing food items from organic farmers is a surefire investment in a cost-effective future. Conventional farming methods have enjoyed great subsidies and tax cuts from most governments over the past years. This has led to the proliferation of commercially produced foods that have increased dangerous diseases like cancer. It’s time governments invested in organic farming technologies to mitigates these problems and secure the future. It all starts with you buying food items from known organic sources.

To Conserve Agricultural Diversity

These days, it normal to hear news about extinct species and this should be a major concern. In the last century alone, it is approximated that 75 percent of the agricultural diversity of crops has been wiped out. Slanting towards one form of farming is a recipe for disaster in the future. A classic example is a potato. There were different varieties available in the marketplace. Today, only one species of potato dominate.

To Prevent Antibiotics, Drugs, and Hormones in Animal Products

Commercial dairy and meat are highly susceptible to contamination by dangerous substances. A statistic in an American journal revealed that over 90% of chemicals the population consumes emanate from meat tissue and dairy products. This means they are fed foods loaded with chemicals and toxins. Drugs, antibiotics, and growth hormones are also injected into these animals and so, are directly transferred to meat and dairy products. Hormone supplementation fed to farmed fish, beef and dairy products contributes mightily to the ingestion of chemicals

Scope of Organic Food Item Industry In India:

  • India’s rich heritage of agriculture tradition makes it suitable for designing organic production system.
  • With greater political will and investment in research extension and marketing infrastructure more of this potential could be realised.
  • The agronomy division of Indian Agricultural Research institute {IRA} has started many course including package and practises for organic farming which can promote great career opportunities in organic farming.

Characteristics of Organic Farming include:

  1. Protecting the long term fertility of soils by maintaining organic matter levels, encouraging soil biological activity, and careful mechanical interventions.
  2. Providing crop nutrients indirectly using relatively insoluble nutrient sources which are made available to the plant by the action of soil micro­organisms;
  3. Nitrogen self-sufficiency through the use of legumes and biological nitrogen fixation, as well as effective recycling of organic materials including crop residues and livestock manures;
  4. Weed, disease and pest control relying primarily on crop rotations, natural predators, diversity, organic manuring, resistant varieties and limited (preferably minimal) thermal, biological and chemical intervention;
  5. The extensive management of livestock, paying full regard to their evolutionary adaptations, behavioural needs and animal welfare issues with respect to nutrition, housing, health, breeding and rearing
  6. Careful attention to the impact of the farming system on the wider environment and the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats.

Factors that will accelerate the growth of the organic food industry:

  1. The Rise in Demand for Organic Food. 
  2. There is a great rise in awareness of organic farming methods, making the food more healthy and nutritious.
  3. Higher Spending Capacity of the Middle Class With the rise in disposable income and access to credit, the Indian middle class will have a high spending capacity on organic food.
  4. Government Regulations: Hon’ble Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi introduced Paramparagat Krishi VikasYojana (PKVY), under which 2 lakh hectares has been made suitable for organic farming thereby benefitting 5 lakh farmers. 
  5. The Rise in the Export of Indian Organic Food; India exported organic products worth $515 million in the financial year 2017-18, from $370 million in 2016-17. 

Organic Food Industry: 4 Reasons Why It Will Boom in Coming years

  1. Insignificant price difference;

The price difference between organic and inorganic food is insignificant; when compared to the health benefits carried by organic food.

  1. Digital Literacy and E-commerce facilitation;

Due to the surge of smart-phone usage India, coupled with low-cost internet, there has been an increase in access to information about organic food. 

  1.  Indian government supporting organic food industry;

The Indian government is supporting and promoting organic farming by extending financial help to farmers adopting organic farming. Various government schemes like Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), National Food Security Mission (NFSM) and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) have been implemented to promote the sector

5.Increase in exports :

The demand for Indian organic food has not only witnessed a steady rise in India but it is receiving appreciation on a global platform. Due to India’s favourable agro climatic conditions coupled with the inherited tradition of organic farming, the quality of organic food to export is very high.

Challenges to Organic Farming in India:

  1. Over-utilisation of chemicals and pesticides has led to a decline in the quality of the soil in many parts of India. 
  2. Getting seeds from crops that have not been contaminated due to the overuse of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
  3. Excessive utilization of these chemicals has led to depletion in the quality of the seeds. 
  4. The quality of water that goes into the growing of the crops is severely contaminated by industrial wastes.

Opportunities in Organic Farming Business

  1. Under organic farming itself, there area number of categories. You can choose any one of them and specialize in that particular category. By doing this, you will have clear focus in what you are doing and leadership in the market can be achieved.
  2. If you have a well established contact and proper financial background which can withstand loss at times, you can concentrate on production of organic fruits and vegetables which make up about 75% of the market. The term loss was indicated due to perishable nature of fruits and vegetables. In this category, its either success or loss.
  3. Organic medicines are another group of products which will generate more income. The shift is not to organic food alone, medicines are also taken when it is organically produced. Medical field is now prescribing organic medicines for patients to have faster recovery. If farming alone is not your aim, you can work with researchers or Biotech professionals to come up with new formulas of medicines with your organic products. Here, you are elevating the business from raw materials to the next level of finished goods.
  4. Organic farming is a newly emerging concept with huge success and this newness can be used to increase your profits. On a business view, the demand for these products increase when the supply is less. Therefore, prices can be higher than the normal prices and this will not affect your sales. From reports, it is said that there are less outlets for buying organic products and this means there is a mismatch is supply and demand.

Conclusions: 

The concepts of organic agriculture were developed in the early 1900s by Sir Albert Howard, F.H. KingRudolf Steiner, and others who believed that the use of animal manures (often made into compost), cover crops, crop rotation, and biologically based pest controls resulted in a better farming system. In India, the traditional method of agriculture was by default organic with negligible use of chemical inputs. However, the need to ensure food security led to the Green Revolution, which began in 1967. While India reached self-sufficiency in food grain production post-Green Revolution, the excessive use of chemical inputs resulted in the rapid degradation of soil and adversely impacted farmers’ health. It is to conclude here if there are certain challenges in the organic food farming industries, certainly having great opportunities as citing some of reasons and justifying for establishment of these industries. 

-This article has been written by Akshita Garg from JDMC, Delhi University.

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