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Important Organic Farming-Related Policies and Programmes in India

Organic farming is a type of farming that is done without the use of chemicals. In organic farming, agricultural activities such as the cultivation of plants and rearing of animals are done in a natural way and by using only biological materials.

Aarushi Chadha
Sikkim started its journey to become completely organic in 2003
Sikkim started its journey to become completely organic in 2003

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations described organic farming or organic agriculture as “a system that relies on ecosystem management rather than external agricultural inputs. It is a system that begins to consider potential environmental and social impacts by eliminating the use of synthetic inputs, such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, veterinary drugs, genetically modified seeds, and breeds, preservatives, additives, and irradiation.”

Benefits of Organic Farming on Health and Environment

  1. Higher antioxidant content- The product of organic farming is organic foods that are rich in antioxidant content and free from chemicals that lower the positive impact of antioxidants in food products.

  2. Doesn’t pollute water- Commercial farming that heavily uses chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides is one of the main contributors to water pollution. On the other hand, water runoff from organic farms are free from such chemical compounds. Therefore, it doesn’t pollute a nearby river or stream.

  3. Taste Better- Although organic food products don’t have a long shelf life, it is fortified with nutrients and tastes purer and better than conventionally grown products.

  4. Reduces the use of harmful pesticides- Organic farming doesn’t allow harmful chemicals and pesticides to be used on the crop. Organic farmers aim to control pests and ensure soil health with natural methods such as regularly feeding the soil organic compost, rotating crops, and covering crops.

  5. Food is free from harmful chemicals- Genetically modified food products that are grown using chemicals have been linked with several diseases and disorders such as compromised immune system, digestive dysfunction, ADHD, constant headaches, and cancer. Organic food is free from harmful chemicals and even improves our immune system.

Current State of Organic Farming in India

In “State of Organic and Natural Farming in India: Challenges and Possibilities,” a research paper published by the Centre for Science and Environment, as per the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare “2.78 million hectares was covered under organic farming in India as of March 2020. This is about 2% of the 140.1 million hectare net sown area in the country.”

Sikkim is the only “100% organic” state

Sikkim started its journey to become completely organic in 2003. At first, the Sikkim Organic Board reduced the subsidy of chemical fertilizers and then completely banned them in 2014. Sikkim was formally declared a 100% organic state in 2016 after its entire agricultural area was converted to certified organic in 2015.

Sikkim’s transition to becoming 100% organic was relatively easy because its per-hectare fertilization consumption was the lowest in the entire country. However, Sikkim’s transition has not been very smooth for farmers who lack proper training in organic agricultural practices and are now grappling with low yields, post-harvest losses, and a fragmented supply chain.

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