Authentication of organic products a mess

By Times Of India on 30 Apr 2017 | read

BENGALURU: Even as the world laps up organic produce, India leads the way with highest acreage of land under organic production. Such is the demand, with a buoyant export market, that the central government body, Agricultural and Processed food products Export Development Authority (APEDA), has been assigned to regulate the sale of organic produce by ensuring each item is certified by a reputed agency.

However, 28 certification bodies approved by APEDA, each with different manuals, has made it a messy affair. While APEDA has laid out broad guidelines for certification of organic produce which have to be adhered for export of produce, there is no regulation for the domestic market.

According to the international Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (CCOA), Karnataka has 93,963 hectares of land either certified or in the process of certification as being organic in nature. Karnataka is third in production, with 2.82 lakh tonnes of food being considered organic.

Farmer producer organisations said certification is provided for Rs 35,000 per organisation. "We pay Rs 35,000 for certification from the , said.

The federation has 40 organisations with 3,800 farmers as members. When asked o whether the certification agency gives its seal of approval to every farmer's produce, Krupa said it is for the organisation. "The certification is meant for organisation which take the responsibility of the organic produce," Krupa said.

According to APEDA, this is known as the peer group certification, which mean there is no individual audit of every farmer's produce. Further, while a section of farmers under the Karnataka government scheme of

Whether the change in certification causes differences in quality checks, Krupa said the federation had not considered such this situation. Certification industry professionals said the entire process of certifying organic produce is based on the consumer or the buyer.

"Certification is primarily based on the consumer due to multiple number of agencies. If there is an export market, the

Admitting that the Centre is yet to approve domestic certification guidelines, APEDA deputy general manager R Ravindra said the (FSSAI) on March 30 released a draft notice on certifying organic food in the domestic market which will provide stringent regulations to sell within the country.