The government is making efforts to tap the Rs 10 lakh crore global organic food market where India’s share is a paltry 2.7 per cent.
It is eying to harness the unlimited opportunities on platter to boost income of farmers for which it has set up a national level cooperative society for organic products.
The first-of-its-kind initiative aiming to enhance the livelihood of farmers and help India become 5 trillion economy as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the umbrella body will assist cooperatives and ultimately their member farmers, in getting benefits of high price of organic products through aggregation, branding and marketing at large scale by facilitating testing and certification at affordable cost.
It will manage various activities related to the cooperative organic sector from aggregation to marketing by adopting various business models through utilising brand and marketing network of AMUL and will develop the same on its own simultaneously. It will also facilitate in providing technical guidance, training and capacity building of organic producers, etc.
There are 8.54 lakh registered cooperatives in the country having more than 29 crore members especially from the rural areas engaged in activities related to agriculture and allied sectors. This strength of the cooperative sector will be utilised for development of organic clusters and its entire supply chain, said a senior official of the Union Cooperation Ministry.
The society will utilise various related schemes and policies of different ministries of the Government in a focussed manner through the ‘Whole of Government Approach’.
In fact, three leading cooperatives -- Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Limited (GCMMF), National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED), National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India Limited (NCCF) -- and two other national level organizations viz., National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) have joined hands for establishing this national level entity.
The need for such an umbrella organisation has been consistently felt given that India, despite having the world's largest number of organic producers, its overall contribution in the organic product market is suboptimal due to smaller land holding per producer and inadequate yield.
Also, there is a lack of knowledge and awareness of the relevant stakeholders regarding procedures, market conditions and the benefits that can be extracted from the trade of such products.
The society will empanel accredited organic testing labs and certification bodies who meet the criteria specified by the society to bring down the cost of testing and certification. Presently, certified Indian organic product retail sales market is around Rs 27,000 crore, including export worth Rs 7,000 crore.
In fact, there are around 34 lakh organic producers across the world with land coverage of 749 lakh hectares (1.6% of total agricultural land of the world) of which Australia has the largest land coverage of 357 lakh hectares.
India ranks 4th with 27 lakh hectares of organic land of which, 7.6 lakh hectares is in Madhya Pradesh, 3.5 lakh hectares is in Rajasthan and 2.8 lakh hectares is in Maharashtra while Sikkim is already a fully organic State since 2016. Almost half of the total organic producers in the world, 16 lakh are from India. Among the top 10 organic products that India exported in the last three years are processed food, oil seeds, cereals and millets, sugar, spices and condiments, pulses, tea, fodder and coffee