India has a huge potential for consumption of organic products and attempts should be made by progressive farmers to promote it, said NITI Ayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant on Wednesday.
“Some should become great organic farmers. India need couple of success stories. If farmers get better unit realisation value, many will emulate it. Sikkim has done outstanding work in the field of organic farming. I even found that Kiwi (fruit) from Arunachal Pradesh was of better quality than that in New Zealand,” he said in an event marked to release of a report on organic farming.
“As per the study conducted by the International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture in eight cities in India, there is huge market for organic food. There are opportunities for organic farming business.”
Kant however said there were challenges of availability of input seeds and planting material.
“Availability of organic seeds and planting machines is the most limiting factor. Also, we need to establish facilities that are able to produce consistent quality products. What is critical is consistent quality production. This is where we lack,” he said.
In the event organised by Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India Chairman Ashish Bahuguna said organic farming was the “effective instrument” to promote idea of sustainably and increase wealth of farmers.
He also said that Indian policies have kept agriculture away.” Farmers are kept at the margins of policies formulation,” he said.
Bahuguna said as per the National Institute of Nutrition, nutrient content in food has depleted in last 30 years “since we took away more from soil than putting in”.
He also raised concerns over use of labels such as green product, eco-friendly products and organic products by reputed brands and retail outlets.
“It confuses consumers,” he said.
Arpita Mukherjee, who co-authored the report “Organic farming in India: Status, Issues and Way Forward”, said consumers do not know which is thee right organic product.
“There is no right policy in place,” she said.
Other authors of the report are Souvik Dutta, Tanu Goyal, Avantika Kapoor and Disha Mendiratta.