Organic Revolution in India

India, a land teeming with cultural diversity and an agricultural heritage, has witnessed a significant shift in the way its populace perceives and consumes food. The organic food movement, grounded in the ethos of sustainability, health, and environmental consciousness, has gradually woven its roots into the country's vast agricultural landscape.

Embracing Tradition in Modern Agriculture

In India, the organic food movement is not just a recent trend; it's a symbiosis of traditional agricultural practices and contemporary environmental awareness. The country's agricultural history is deeply rooted in organic methods, with practices such as Vedic farming, which emphasises the harmony between nature and cultivation. These age-old practices are now being revitalized and amalgamated with modern organic farming techniques to meet the demands of a growing population while preserving the ecosystem.

The Rise of Organic Farming

The shift towards organic farming in India has been palpable. Farmers across the nation are turning to organic methods, relinquishing chemical-based pesticides and fertilizers, and adopting natural alternatives. This shift is driven by multiple factors, including health consciousness among consumers, the push for sustainability, and the acknowledgement of the harmful effects of conventional farming practices on soil health.

Government Initiatives and Support

The Indian government has played a pivotal role in promoting organic farming. Schemes such as the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) aim to encourage farmers to adopt organic practices by providing certification assistance and financial support. These initiatives have contributed significantly to the growth of organic farming in the country.

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite the growing popularity of organic produce, challenges persist. Issues like the high cost of organic produce, lack of infrastructure, and the need for standardized certification processes are hurdles that the movement continues to face. Nevertheless, the increasing awareness among consumers about the benefits of organic food presents an opportunity for growth and sustainability in the long run.

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The Consumer Perspective

The Indian consumer's shift towards organic food is multifaceted. Health consciousness, environmental concerns, and the desire to support local farmers are significant driving factors. Additionally, an increasing number of Indian consumers are opting for organic products, be it fresh produce, dairy, or even packaged goods, further propelling the movement.

The organic food movement in India is a dynamic landscape, blending traditional wisdom with modern sustainability practices. As more farmers, consumers, and policymakers recognize its potential, the movement continues to gain momentum, fostering a healthier and more environmentally conscious future for the nation. The journey from farm to table in India is evolving, rooted in the wisdom of the past and branching out to create a sustainable and healthier tomorrow. 

FSSAI code for
 organic foods

The organic revolution in India, from its rural fields to urban kitchens, exemplifies a transformative journey that aligns with both the nation's rich agricultural heritage and the global call for sustainable living.

Customer's Check of Organic Produce & Products

The demand for organic food, free from harmful chemicals, has surged. To confirm its authenticity, consumers should heed key pointers before purchasing organic food, whether online or in stores.

Check Labels: 

Thoroughly read labels to understand the food's organic composition. Different certifications like 'organic' or 'certified organic' can have varying implications, requiring attention to percentages of organic ingredients in processed food. 

Certification Verification: 

Look for the 'India Organic' mark, confirming adherence to National Standards for Organic Products under India's National Program for Organic Production. This certification aligns with the US National Organic Program (NOP) by the USDA.

Understanding Organic: 

Differentiate organic food from 'natural' or 'free-range' foods. Organic food is free from synthetic additives, unlike minimally processed natural foods or free-range animal husbandry practices.

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Price Look-Up (PLU Codes): 

Identify organic produce through PLU codes that begin with the digit '9', a classification used in several countries. In India, understanding price codes helps distinguish organic produce. Five-digit PLU codes indicate that the particular fruit or vegetable has been grown organically. This will appear as a "9" prefix. This means that the 9 is added onto the conventional PLU code. So, for example, the PLU code for cucumber  is 4062, while the PLU code is 94225 an organic cucumber.

Hazard Analysis &
Critical control Point System

The Significance of Certificates: 

Organic certifications assure food quality and fair trade, meeting the rising demand for organic products. As consumers increasingly opt for organic produce, the necessity for such certifications has grown, ensuring health and safety standards.

The absence of the Jaivik Bharat Logo doesn't necessarily indicate a product is fake or non-organic. According to FSSAI regulations, small organic producers with an annual turnover exceeding Rs 12 lakh and certain 'aggregators' with a Rs 50 lakh annual turnover were permitted to sell their produce directly to end consumers without the Jaivik Bharat Logo until April 2020.

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While genuine organic products might not display these logos and labels, those bearing such logos are guaranteed to meet the national organic standards.

With the surge in health-conscious consumers preferring organic food, emphasis on adhering to guidelines and verifying food authenticity from farm to plate becomes paramount. While growing organic food isn't challenging, recognizing and purchasing genuinely organic products amid conventional options necessitates awareness.

Important: Look for the “India Organic” logo, to readily recognize certified items. The certification procedure under NPOP is aligned with the European Union standards and is also acknowledged for conformity evaluation by the USDA’s National Organic Program.

Neerja Bhatnagar

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