India has set a target of exporting organic food worth $1 billion in the next five years with its produce receiving wide acceptance in many mature markets of the US and Europe, a top official said on Saturday.
“Through more capacity building and bilateral agreements, India’s organic exports can be enhanced to $1 billion in the next five years,” said Asit Tripathy, chairman of the Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA).
“Our vision is to make India the number one organic hub in the world over in the next 10 years,” Tripathy, whose agency has been promoted by the ministry of industry, told a conference on organic foods here on Saturday.
Last year, India exported 135 organic products under 18 categories. The total volume was 44,476 tonnes, realising over $125 million. The overall growth of organic food exports, thus, was 50.31 per cent over the previous year.
Around 60 per cent of the country’s organic products were exported to the European Union, 20 per cent to the US, 5 per cent to Japan and the rest to Canada, Australia and East Asian countries.
Currently, India ranks 33rd in terms of total land under organic cultivation and 88th in terms of the ratio of agricultural land under organic crops to total farming area, as per statistics available with APEDA.
Officials explained that under the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012), the country targeted the development of five million hectares of cultivable land into certified organic farmland by promoting a scheme to compensate farmers for the lower yield of such crops.
The reason for emphasis on organic farming was its positive effects on biodiversity and effective soil management that could go a long way in mitigating and even reversing the effects of climate change, as also minimising carbon emissions.