Organic Farming in India

Organic farming has been practised in India since time immemorial. In fact, this was the standard system of farming practised in the country. The nutrients needed for growing the crops were all derived from natural methods. However, in the twentieth century the population of India began to grow rapidly. The need to feed the millions who now inhabited the sub-continent began to assume urgency never felt before. In the 1950s and 1960s the country went through a series of food shortages and the government was forced to take quick action. Fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals were introduced into Indian agriculture for the first time so that the country could produce the vast quantities of food needed to satisfy the hunger of millions. But now after a few decades the country is self sufficient in food, but its citizens are starting to feel the ill effects of eating contaminated products. The people are now feeling a need to switch back to naturally made products and using methods of cultivation that was practised in the olden days.

However, one of the problems with organic farming is that it is more expensive than conventional farming. While there are now a large number of certified organic farms in India with the number growing by the day, they still cater essentially to the needs of the upper class. Many of them grow their produce for western societies who can afford such products. India is still a low income country and organic farming cannot provide for such a large population. For the time being many organic firms earn much of their income through exports. The popularity of these products is still restricted to the big metros and a few tier two cities.

There are quite a few associations in India that govern organic farming in India like OFAI and AOFG. Thanks to these organizations many organic farmers now have an umbrella organization that they can function under and help to promote their work. In rural areas many farmers have started to switch to organic farming as they have realised that they can reap rich dividends by following this method. States like Sikkim, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka are showing a great deal of development in organic farming. But despite impressive progress, organic farming in India is still at a nascent stage. Many experts believe that the country has tremendous untapped potential when it comes to organic farming.

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