What makes the body feel good? We sometimes think, supplementing the body with artificial nourishment like vitamin tablets, protein powders can work. But what would actually work best is natural food. Nowadays, life is changing very quickly, and people are shifting towards a healthy lifestyle by inculcating yoga, gym, meditation, healthy diet, chemical free food stuffs, etc. Consuming organic fruits and vegetables, organic meat, and even organic Indian spices is becoming a nutrition trend. Organic food is not only incredible in taste, but also has a delicious aroma and quality which is far beyond the normal conventional food.

Organic Food - Challehges, Facts & Details

The difference between the organic and non-organic produce is how responsibly the food products are grown and the technique behind the production of food. For example, organic fruits, vegetables, egg, milk, meat are produced without synthetic pesticides, antibiotics or growth hormones or genetically altered seeds.

A Walk through the History of Organic Cultivation

A way back, organic cultivation was started in India. It is a technique of producing crops without using fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals. Organic farming establishes a harmony with nature.

The demand of organically cultivated fruits and vegetables has grown immediately in 20-25years after independence. Food became a matter of concern in that time. The demand was constantly increasing and the supply of agriculture-based food products was persistent, as we were using conventional knowledge and practices. The practice of organic farming originated in the west and it became a good substitute to conventional agriculture techniques and methods.

Gradually, organic farming has become an essential need of an hour. Its introduction in India has resolved many issues like- human health, contamination, adulteration and many socio-economic problems. The agrochemicals which are used in farming are not only polluting the environment but also human health. Due to these problems, India has emphasised rigorously on agriculture practises.

Facts and Figures

Some of the important facts related to organic farming are-

  • Research has shown that children who eat organic food in their diet are more healthier than the children who eat conventional diets.

  • The effect of biodiversity in fresh organic produce is 10% to 30% higher than conventional farming.

  • Some studies state that the use of pesticides even at low volume can enhance the risk of certain diseases, such as leukaemia, brain tumours, breast cancers, prostate cancer, etc.

  • 1.5 million hectares i.e. 2.59 per cent of the total area is used for organic cultivation in India.

  • According to the 2018 report of the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, there are four countries which practice organic farming on a large scale that include - Denmark, Austria, Thailand and India.

  • According to IFOAM ORGANICS INTERNATIONAL, India has 2.8 million organic producers worldwide.

  • India export approx. 6.5 million tonnes of certified organic products which includes fruits, vegetables, dry fruits, tea, coffee, spices, cereals, pulses, millets, rice, wheat, oilseeds, herbs, etc.

Problems & Challenges of Organic Farming

Challenges of Organic Farming

Organic food sales are increasing day by day, but there are certain challenges in the path of farming -

  • Overgrowth- One of the rules of natural farming is not to mess with the natural growing process. Sometimes vegetables grow at a faster pace due to sustainable weather conditions.

  • Pests and bugs- None of the organic medicines (like, salt spray, cow urine, neem leaves, onion and garlic spray, etc.) are as effective as a bottle of chemical based pesticides. So, often the plants are eaten up by pests and bugs.\

  • Damage due to weather conditions- The fruits and vegetables are prone to adverse weather conditions like storms, heavy rains, etc. which makes the soil become wet and spoil the crops which are laying in contact with the soil.

  • High price of organic produce- Due to costly organic cultivation methods & procedures, limited production and gradually increasing demand led to increase in the prices of organic produce.

  • No provision for organic inputs- Seeds and inputs which are used in farming are highly regulated by the government, but there is no such provision made by the government related to organic seeds and inputs.

  • Farmers affordability- The cultivation of organic crops involves continuously expenditure which the farmers can’t afford.

  • High maintenance- Organic produce requires more maintenance as compared to fruits and vegetables which are grown with the help of fertilizers and pesticides.

  • Organic farms- We need large scale production but don’t have enough organic farms in India.

Dark Side of Organic Farming

We always keep on looking at all those lovely pictures of the fresh produce, but there is always a darker side of the picture as well. There’s a lot of effort involved in bringing the best organic produce to us. Farmers are always engaged in protecting the plants from hot summer sun and preventing water from running off when it rains. They don’t know a joy greater than watching a seed germinate; they don’t know a joy greater than walking barefoot on wet earth. They know that whatever crops they are growing are grown with all heart and no chemicals.

Many chemical inputs that are used in conventional agriculture procedures prevent the produce from getting fungus and bacteria, due to which the fruits and vegetables stay for longer days. But, on the other side, naturally grown food spoils soon because of its natural process. Anything that prevents this natural process of fungus growing on food is unnatural. Although, there are remedies to delay the decaying process like, spraying vinegar, maintaining good air flow between plants by adequate spacing, minimum weed, etc.

Certifications and Licenses in India

Certificates and licenses in the food industry help to assure the quality and prevent fraud. The certifications and license for farming organically are based on few principles:

  • Organic production and processing standards should be clearly laid down or presented.

  • The processing of these standards should be verified.

  • Labels which convey that the manufacturer has a license, should be permitted only to those products which conforms to the set standards.

Some of the certified agencies which mark for organically farmed food products manufactured in India are- APEDA (The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority), FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), NPOP (National Programme for Organic Production) and BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards).

All these certificates enhance professional skills, and serve as a proof of ability in the Food Industry.