Prospects of Organic farming in India: An appraisal
The Indian farming is traditionally organic and farmers were following organic cultivation till the middle of the twentieth century. After independence we gradually started practicing chemical farming to increase food production to meet the needs of growing population. With the introduction of high yielding varieties programme the chemical farming attained higher production by using various inputs like improved seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc. Later on in the 1980s realizing the adverse impact of chemical farming, various farming and consumer groups worldwide began pressing for government regulation of organic production. In recent years, explosive organic market growth has encouraged the participation of agribusiness interest. Organic farming uses nature as the best role model for agriculture and considers soil as a living system. In India, the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Agriculture are promoting organic farming in a big way. The demand for organic produce increases year after year in India and in international trade market. Organic products produced in India are tea, spices, fruits and vegetables, rice, coffee, cashew nuts, oilseeds, wheat, pulses, cotton and herbal extracts. Organic farming is the only way farmers can escape from the vicious cycle of debt and a negative economy. It is also necessary from the point of view of small producers. Organic farming is a food system that raises income and increases food and food safety at both ends. It is one in which the environment is preserved, farmers and workers have fair access to the means of food production while receiving a fair return for their labour and consumers have their food at fair prices. Several studies reported that if all the outputs and all the inputs are taken into account, organic farming which relies on internal inputs has higher productivity than external input chemical agriculture. Keeping these potentials in mind, farmers in various states of India have started practicing organic farming but at the same time they are facing several constraints. So the efforts from various players like policy makers, researchers, extension workers, farmers’ representatives, input suppliers, marketing personnel and consumers are needed to promote organic farming in a big way to tackle the present agrarian crisis. This is deliberated in this paper. It is hoped that organic farming will emerge as an important component of sustainable agriculture and congenial environment in years to come.
organic farming, chemical farming, organic products, environment, vegetables, organic market.