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ORGANIC LEAP

In India, there are three main types of farmers engaged in organic agricultural production.

1. Farmers who mostly follow the indigenous knowledge and technology developed over the past thousands of years. They normally grow for their own consumption and have little surplus.

2. Farmers with small to medium sized holdings. These can be divided into two groups: those working to revive the Vedic practices, coupled with Ayurvedic tradition of health system with scientific exposition; and others who follow modern organic agriculture systems, like Steiner's biodynamic agriculture or Fukuoka's "nature farming", for example. They usually have market surplus and sometimes export their goods.

3. Private companies that have responded to market demands in the North by organizing large scale conversions to organic systems. By going organic they add more economic value to the crops, which are already cultivated in a manner similar to organic systems. They are actively engaged in promoting organic agriculture for export.

India produces primary organic products and processed foods are limited. Organic products grown in various agroclimatic zones are coffee, teas, spices, fruits, vegetables and cereals as well as honey and cotton. Organic animal husbandry, poultry and fisheries do not exist. Domestic organic markets and consumer awareness are underdeveloped in India, but interest is growing. On the domestic market, organic food is usually sold directly from the farmer or through specialized shops and restaurants. At present, a price premium of about 20-30% over conventional products can be received (FAO 2002).

India is an exporting country and does not import any organic products. The main market for exported products is the European Union. Recently India has applied to be included on the "EU-Third-Country-List". Another growing market is the USA. External certification bodies introduced inspection and certification programmes in 1987. In June 2001, the Government of India announced the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP), which aims to promote sustainable production, environmental conservation, reduction in the use and import of agrochemicals, the promotion of export and rural development (FAO 2002).


 
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