Telangana Government’s plans to give a fillip to organic farming in the State received a big boost with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) giving accreditation to Telangana State Seed and Organic Certification Authority (TSSOCA) for inspection and certification of organic farms, produce and products.
In the absence of certification agency in the State, the organic farmers, though they are in small numbers, have been facing problems in getting their produce certified, in spite of increasing demand for organic food products in the State and outside. According to officials, organic farming is being carried out in about 1,570 acres in the State.
The producers, however, have been catering to the demand from some exclusive outlets involved in the sale of such products with their own branding. “Now that the TSSOCA has secured accreditation, it’s authorised not only to inspect and certify the organic farms and produce but can inspect the outlets to examine the products being sold by them as to whether they are genuine organic products or not”, the officials said.
When contacted, TSSOCA Director K. Keshavulu said about 800 farmers were engaged in organic farming in small chunks of lands and the accreditation for the APEDA certification would propel the organic cultivation in a big way. “There’s enormous scope for organic farming in the State provided proper awareness is created on the cultivation with mandated norms”, he stated.
Lack of the APEDA accreditation has been a major hindrance for sale, particularly exports, of organic food products from the State, Mr. Keshavulu noted. The TSSOCA was started in 2016 with an aim to encourage organic farming in the State and enrolment of organic farm fields and farmers is also being done up by it since then.
Meanwhile, Minister for Agriculture Pocharam Srinivas Reddy will officially launch APEDA certification by TSSOCA at an event organised here on Monday. The TSSOCA was issued accreditation by the APEDA last month with validity till May 31, 2021.