Promoting Organic Farming: NPOP & Participatory Guarantee Scheme

  • Lakshadweep, after Sikkim, is on its way to become 100 per cent organic.
  • Lakshadweep is the first Union Territory to become 100 per cent organic.
  • In January 2016, Sikkim became India’s first “100 percent organic” State.

Organic Farming

  • Organic farming is a type of agriculture or farming which avoids the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, & livestock feed additives.
  • Organic farming systems rely on crop rotation, crop residues, animal manures, legumes, green manure, off-farm organic wastes & biofertilizers, mineral bearing rocks to maintain soil productivity, etc.

Suggested Reading: Organic Farming

Organic farming in India

  • India ranks first in number of organic farmers & ninth in terms of area under organic farming.
  • Sikkim became the first State in the world to become fully organic.
  • States including Tripura & Uttarakhand have set similar targets.
  • North East India has traditionally been organic, & the consumption of chemicals is far less than rest of the country.
  • About 2.78 million hectares of farmland is under organic cultivation.
  • This is two per cent of the 140.1 million ha net sown area in the country.
  • Madhya Pradesh tops the list with 0.76 million ha of area under organic cultivation — that is over 27 per cent of India’s total organic cultivation area.
  • The top three states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, & Maharashtra — account for about half the area under organic cultivation.
  • Major organic exports from India are flax seeds, sesame, soybean, tea, medicinal plants, rice & pulses.
  • Major exporting states: Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, & Nagaland.

Initiatives to promote Organic Farming in India

  • Schemes launched to promote organic farming:
  • Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD) &
  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY).
  • Both PKVY & MOVCD are promoting certification under Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) & National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) respectively targeting domestic & exports markets.
  • The Food Safety & Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017 are based on the standards of NPOP & PGS.
  • The consumer should look for the logos of FSSAI, Jaivik Bharat/PGS Organic India on the produce to establish the organic authenticity of the produce.
  • PGS Green is given to chemical free produce under transition to ‘organic’ which takes 3 years.
  • The organic e-commerce platform is being strengthened for directly linking farmers with retail as well as bulk buyers.

Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD-NER)

  • MOVCD-NER is a Central Sector Scheme.
  • It is a sub-mission under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).
  • It was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare for implementation in the all the North-Eastern states including Sikkim during the 12th plan period.
  • The scheme aims to development of certified organic production in a value chain mode to link growers with consumers.
  • The scheme supports the development of entire value chain starting from inputs, seeds, certification, to the creation of facilities for collection, aggregation, processing, marketing & brand building initiative.

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY)

National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP)

  • The Ministry of Industries & Commerce is implementing the NPOP since 2001 with the following objectives:
  • To provide the means of evaluation of certification programme for organic agriculture & products.
  • To accredit certification programmes of Certification Bodies seeking accreditation.
  • To facilitate the certification of organic products in conformity with the prescribed standards.
  • To facilitate organic certification in conformity with the importing countries organic standards.
  • To encourage the development of organic farming & organic processing.
  • The Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is the implementation agency for the NPOP.
  • APEDA is providing assistance to the exporters of organic products under various components of its export promotion scheme.

Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS)

  • Union Agriculture Ministry introduced PGS to incentivise more farmers to grow organic food.
  • PGS is an Operational Manual for Domestic Organic Certification published by the National Centre of Organic Farming, Ghaziabad.
  • PGS is a process in which people in similar situations (small producers) assess, inspect, & verify the production practices of each other & take decisions on organic certification.
  • PGS operates outside the framework of third-party certification.

Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS)

Advantages of PGS over third-party certification

  • Procedures are simple, documents are basic, & farmers understand the local language used.
  • As all members are practising organic farmers themselves, they understand the processes well.
  • Because peer appraisers live in the same village, they have better access to surveillance & the costs are low.
  • Mutual recognition between regional PGS groups ensures better networking for marketing.
  • Unlike the grower group certification system, PGS offers every farmer individual certificate, & the farmer is free to market his own produce independent of the group.
  • PGS ensures traceability until the product is in the custody of the PGS group, which makes PGS ideal for local direct sales & direct trade between producers & consumers.

Limitations of PGS

  • PGS certification is only for farmers that can organise as a group & is applicable only to activities such as crop production, processing, & livestock rearing, & off-farm processing by PGS farmers of their products.
  • Individual farmers or group of farmers smaller than five members are not covered under PGS.
  • They either have to opt for third party certification or join the existing PGS local group.
  • PGS is not ideal for furthering exports of organic produce due to apprehensions over peer-based certification.
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