Gujarat government will spend about Rs 10 crore in a year to promote organic farming in the state under the organic farming policy.
The government had announced the policy in April this year. A state government official had last week released a souvenir containing the policy and its Gujarati translation in a special programme organised by Jatan, a non government organisation working for promotion of sustainable and organic agriculture, in Ahmedabad.
“The state government is committed to promote organic farming and has allocated Rs 10 crore in the current financial year for this purpose,” said B R Shah, managing director of Gujarat organic product certification agency and director of horticulture department, Gujarat.
Gujarat is the ninth state to declare a policy for organic farming after Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
Shah said, “We will initially focus on tribal areas and help farmers with certification, marketing and brand building as well.”
An organic cell will be created under the department of agriculture to implement the policy and Gujarat Organic Farming Committee will be constituted to monitor the implementation of the policy.
As part of framing the policy, the state had interacted with more than 1,200 people including 650 farmers, 130 scientists and hundreds others, who submitted their opinions in verbal and written form across seven public consultations.
All four agricultural universities of the state, which presided over the function, stated that the varsities are in process to develop seeds and package of practices for organic farming.
The state government aims to increase organic farming area by ten times over the next five years. Current farm area under organic cultivation across the state is nearly 4,000 acres.
In India, 4.72 million hectares of farm is under organic cultivation while close to 135 types of farm produce were exported in 2013-14. Export volume constituted of 2.19 million tonnes worth $403 million.
Devinder Sharma of Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security, New Delhi, “Gujarat is a symbol of progressiveness. The rest of India looks to Gujarat. Therefore, it is critical that Gujarat charts this progressive path in organic farming.”
With a view to ensure higher price realisation, branding and proper marketing is crucial. The policy will provide assistance for creating brands, brand promotion, arrangement of buyer-seller meets, market-led extension and exhibition. The product of organic farmers, simultaneously, shall be linked with agri export zones.