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Organic food market takes off

Farmers can achieve better yield, but they are struggling to market organic products owing to lack of government support

April 20, 2014 12:02 pm | Updated May 21, 2016 12:28 pm IST - VIJAYAWADA:

Centre for Sustainable Agriculture Director G.V. Ramanjaneyulu (middle) addressing a seminar on organic farming in Vijayawada on Saturday. Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

Centre for Sustainable Agriculture Director G.V. Ramanjaneyulu (middle) addressing a seminar on organic farming in Vijayawada on Saturday. Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

Organic food market in India is expanding at a staggering rate of 400 per cent every year according to a report published by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) but the farmers are unable to realise the full potential of the crops grown with natural fertilizer.

It is because they are marginalised by the government which extended maximum support to corporate entities, said G.V. Ramanjaneyulu, Director of Secunderabad-based Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA).

Addressing a seminar on organic farming at Andhra Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) here on Saturday, Mr. Ramanjaneyulu said empirical data gathered from about nine lakh farmers across the country proved that the difference in yields of organic and conventional systems of agriculture was just about five per cent.

The cost of production came down by 10 to 15 per cent and returns were higher by at least 10 per cent.

Farmers were able to achieve better yields but they struggled in marketing the organic products due to the lack of government support. Post-harvest and supply chain issues bothered the farmers and the government rarely came to their rescue.

Mr. Ramanjaneyulu stressed the need for a major shift in fertilizer usage from NPK to organic manures and chemical-based pesticides which have high concentrations of heavy metals, to eco-friendly substances.

The rising costs and inability of farmers to sustain the present levels of production were issues of concern around the world and the only long-term solution was organic farming.

A global action plan and concerted action were essential to deal with the imminent crises in agriculture sector in which technology plays a limited role, the CSA Director observed. ACCI Chairman M. Murali Krishna and former ZP chairman Kadiyala Raghava Rao were present.

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