India remains one of the top 10 exporters of organic products globally, but some malpractices like the sale of inorganic products disguised as organic have done the domestic market grave damage, shows a recent study by the Delhi-based Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (Icrier).
In the absence of clear guidelines by the Food Safety
and Standards Authority of India, the sector’s growth has been mired in fraudulence and malpractices, and the lack of a framework to penalise offences is making things worse, the Icrier
report, titled ‘Organic Farming
in India: Status, Issues and Way Forward’, points out.
"About 1.5 million hectares of land in India was certified organic, excluding wild and forest areas. In 2016-17, India exported Rs 2,478 crore worth of organic commodities like oilseeds, cereals and millets and processed foods," says a report published by Livemint
Besides highlighting the need for a uniform standard for the domestic market, the report also bats for a single nodal agency and punishments to address the issues facing the sector. It also mentions that India’s organic food
market could grow at 20 per cent in the next five years if the problems were addressed.
On the issues raised by the study, NITI Aayog
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Amitabh Kant
suggested that standards set by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda), the export promotion body, should be followed to help India’s organic products push deeper into global as well as domestic markets.