Organic Foods: The New Revolution

The choice of going organic with your menu is getting easier and easier. In a way, the trend is somewhat ironic in a country like India, which had been growing a lot of its food organically, just a few decades ago. In the last decade, the organic food sector has seen immense growth, with a small part of it turning more organised. The government too has begun taking interest in growing organic food as well as the rest of agriculture as the issue of food security looms large.

A report by the union ministry of agriculture (Eleventh Sitting of the Committee of Estimates 2014-15) starts off by stating that according to the National Programme for Organic Production, under ministry of commerce, organic agriculture is defined as a system of farm design and management to create an ecosystem, which can achieve sustainable productivity without the use of artificial external inputs such as chemicals, fertilisers and pesticides.

The committee noted that the global trade was currently $60 billion (Rs 3,60,000 crore) and may touch $100 billion (Rs 6,00,000 crore). Trade in India may (eventually) reach Rs 5,000 crore to Rs 6,000 crore, which is about one per cent of the global trade.

The committee noted that since 1970, the area under cultivation in the country has remained almost constant in the range of 140-142 million hectares out of the total area of 328 million hectares, whereas the population has almost tripled during the period. India has approximately 17 per cent of the world population, but only 2.3 per cent of the total global land area.

According to the ministry of agriculture, the area under organic cultivation increased hugely in 2013-14 compared to 2012-13 in states such as Andhra Pradesh (108 per cent), Chattisgarh (117 per cent), Jharkhand (200 per cent) and Orissa (173 per cent). While the area under organic cultivation declined significantly in Delhi (99 per cent), Bihar (98 per cent), Meghalaya (80 per cent), Arunachal Pradesh (65 per cent) and Haryana (50 per cent) in 2013-14 vis-a-vis the area under organic cultivation in 2012-13.