Organic farming is an ecological approach that enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil health. India is a leading nation with the highest number of organic farmers and ranks 9th in organic farming area worldwide. Asia, particularly India, contributes significantly to global organic production.

Favourable Factors for Organic Farming in India:
Existing Agricultural Base:

  • India’s economy is heavily reliant on agriculture, with a large portion of the population engaged in farming.
  • Organic practices have been ingrained in Indian agriculture, with regions like North East India and Sikkim leading the way.
  • Traditional organic practices in tribal and island territories demonstrate the viability of this approach.
  • Diverse soil types in India provide a natural source of organic nutrients.

Positive Impact Potential:

Sustainable Development:

  • Organic farming’s reduced impact on water, soil, and wildlife aligns with sustainable practices.
    Socio-Economic Impact:
  • Organic farming demands more labor, thus generating more employment opportunities.
  • Increased employment and productivity lead to better rural economies.
  • Better occupational health due to limited exposure to chemicals enhances productivity.
  • Lower production costs due to reduced chemical fertilizer use make organic farming economically viable.
  • Organic farming addresses food security, rural employment, and natural resource conservation.

Receptiveness among Farmers:

  • The profitability of organic farming entices more farmers to adopt this approach.
  • Economic prospects drive the shift toward organic agriculture.

Increasing Demand:

  • Growing awareness of safe and quality food, especially post-pandemic, has spiked demand for organic produce.
  • E-commerce platforms further facilitate the distribution of organic products.

Government Supportive Policies:

  • Schemes like Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) promote chemical-free farming.
  • Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOCVD-NER) connects growers to consumers.
  • National Programme for Organic Production educates farmers about organic benefits.
  • Allied schemes under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture aid organic farming.

Challenges and Limitations:

Higher Prices:

  • Organic farming often results in lower yields, leading to higher product costs.
  • Additional expenses like certification impact prices.

Land Requirement:

  • Organic farming’s lower yields demand more land for equivalent food production.

Food Security Concerns:

  • Lower yields could jeopardize food security for India’s vast population.

Conversion Challenges:

  • Transitioning from conventional to organic farming demands adherence to international standards.

Uneven State Adoption:

  • Few states concentrate most of the organic farming area despite policies in place.
  • Lack of awareness hampers adoption in various regions.

Awareness and Marketing Issues:

  • Farmers lack awareness of organic practices.
  • Inadequate marketing for organic inputs and products.

Other Challenges:

  • Biomass scarcity.
  • Insufficient farming infrastructure.
  • Difficulty meeting export demands.

Organic farming holds promise for India’s agricultural future but cannot replace conventional farming immediately due to limitations. A balanced approach that capitalizes on strengths while addressing gaps is necessary. Gradual expansion of organic farming, alongside conventional practices, is essential to meet India’s diverse agricultural needs.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish May 13, 2024