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Organic farming certification can change fate of Odisha farmers and create huge employment Opportunity - Assocham study  
Monday June 09, 2014


"Organic farming can generate about 60 lakh jobs in Odisha in next five years while creating additional jobs of about 20 lakh in on-farm storing, processing, packaging and marketing facilities. Apart from this, it can also ensure the farmer of an income of Rs.10,500 instead of a meagre 3000 rupees at present."  
HNF Correspondent  

With its tradition of Organic farming, Odisha can top the list of exporters of organic farm produces in India while generating about 80 lakh jobs in the sector in next five years only if it gets proper certification, said a study conducted by Assocham.

The study under a project titled ‘Organic Odisha’ projects that promotion of organic farming in the state can generate about 60 lakh jobs inside apart from additional jobs of about 20 lakh in on-farm storing, processing, packaging and marketing facilities. The projection is based on the proposition that organic farms provide over 30 per cent more jobs per hectare as against non-organic farms, according to a study titled ‘Organic Odisha: Inching towards Organic Farming’, released by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).


Besides, Promotion of organic farming in Odisha can lead to wealth accumulation of about Rs 23,000 crore and generate exports worth Rs 600 crore during the aforesaid period, said the study. ‘Adoption of organic farming can increase net per capita income of a farmer in the state by a whopping 250 per cent to over Rs 10,500 in next five years from a meagre Rs.3,000 at present,’ said D.S. Rawat, national secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the report containing the findings of the study. ‘This will also arrest migration of people from Odisha to other states in search of jobs’, he added.

As per the reports of the study, of the total organically certified area of 1.7 lakh hectares (ha) across the country, Odisha has the maximum area of over 26,300 ha followed by Jammu and Kashmir (22,316 ha) and Rajasthan (22,105 ha). ‘Odisha has a huge role to take India’s share in global organic exports from about 0.2 per cent to about 2.5 per cent by 2017,’ said Rawat highlighting, ‘Besides, the state has the potential of being India’s export hub for certified organic food to different world markets.’

However, majority of farmers in Odisha do Organic farming and, so, it’s a default practice in the State where over 80 per cent of small and marginal farmers using less amounts of fertilizers and pesticides. Cotton, turmeric, ginger, niger and some variety of pulses are certain organic crops produced in Odisha and efforts are being made to produce other pulses’ varieties like arhar, moong along with commodities like honey, garlic, chilli, paddy, medicinal plants and others.

Of the total 135 products in organic product portfolio, India exports 86 products worth over 100 million dollars to the global market which currently stands at around 60 billion dollars and is growing by five billion dollars annually.

In its study, ASSOCHAM has suggested that organic agriculture be recognised and integrated in main policies of the central government like those on agriculture, food, health and environment. This will ensure that all needs of organic sector are properly addressed and considered in government programmes and budgetary allocations.

To achieve the objectives of promoting organic farming and changing fate of the farmers, ASSOCHAM has proposed formation of a national commission for organic agriculture with participation of all stakeholders including private sector. Besides, an organic food council can also be set up to institutionalise policy dialogue between the government and the stake holders in the organic sector.

The study also suggested that mapping the status of organic farming and certification along with agro-climatic zones must be carried out to tap the potential of organic crops and understand micro level production potential. Interventions must be carried out to raise production levels and the area under crops may be increased through cluster approach to generate marketable surplus and provide economy of scale in marketing the production.

The study emphasised upon development of regional action plans for organic farming which can give direction and target for adoption and combination of specific measures including direct income support, marketing and processing support, certification support, consumer education and infrastructure support.

While the report was also submitted to Odisha government, it appealed the state to promote a concept to set up an organic village in each district to encourage usage of organic fertilisers to protect the land from residual affect of chemical fertilisers. However, the study stresses upon Organic certification as imperative for adding value to default organic system and enable farms to explore domestic and export markets for fetching better prices. It also appealed the state government to provide information on new technologies and rural credit to farmers through co-operatives, commercial, regional rural banks.

In order to empower the farmers with skill and market knowledge, ASSOCHAM has proposed formation of an institute for training, certification, production, packaging, processing and marketing organic products through PPP model in consultations with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). ASSOCHAM also has plans to organise product fairs and buyer-seller meetings to enable farmers to get premium pricing for their produce.

At a time when agriculture across India is taking the face of most unviable sector to make it a profession, this finding of Assocham may add to the confidence of the farmers and the governments to promote organic farming.


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