Madhya Pradesh has the largest acreage of agricultural land under organic cultivation, followed by Rajasthan and Maharashtra.The total area under organic farming for all the States and Union Territories combined in India is 2.78 million ha. However, a major part of this area is concentrated only in a handful of States, according to a report from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) released on Tuesday.
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Madhya Pradesh tops the list with 0.76 million ha of area under organic cultivation — i.e., over 27% of India’s total area under organic cultivation. The top three States — Rajasthan and Maharashtra are the other two — account for about half of the area under organic cultivation. The top 10 States account for about 80% of the total area under organic cultivation.
At least 20 States have a policy, mission or Act with regard to organic farming. Some States have had a policy for several years but have not been able to cover much area in absolute terms under organic cultivation. For example, Karnataka and Kerala have had an organic policy since 2004 and 2010, respectively, but have only 1.1% and 2.7% of their net sown area organically cultivated, respectively. On the other hand, States such as Rajasthan, which have formulated their policy recently, have covered a significant area, the report notes.
Only Sikkim has become fully organic. Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have committed to become 100% natural-farming States by 2027 and 2022, respectively. Kerala had aimed to become fully organic by 2020. However, most of the States with formal commitments, barring Sikkim, could convert only 2.3%-10% of their net sown area under organic cultivation as of March 2020.
In 2016, the CSE found that Sikkim spent about 70% of its agricultural budget on third-party organic certification, and that farmers lacked training on organic farming and market support. “Smooth transition was not ensured for farmers, who grappled with decreased yields and issues in getting remunerative price for organic produce,” the organisation noted.
“The Indian organic movement is far from being a mass movement even 15 years after the national organic farming policy. It is, unfortunately, no more than a niche movement led by and dependent on farmers and civil society groups. Promotion of natural-farming practices by governments is a recent phenomenon limited to only select few States,” the report said.