11 July 2011

'Organic farming sector to touch 100 billion'

The Indian organic farming sector is likely to be worth 100 billion by 2015 and will create millions of jobs, a leading industry lobby said.

The current market is worth 2,500 crore, said the study, "Organic Products-The Way Ahead", conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).

"The Indian organic food market is growing at a steady rate of 40 percent annually," said Assocham Secretary General D.S. Rawat.

It can create millions of jobs as it can spur over 30 percent of employment per hectare as against non-organic farming, according to Assocham.

"The global organic market currently stands at around $65 billion and is growing at a robust annual rate of over $5 billion," the study said.

Basmati rice, pulses, honey, tea, spices and their value added products are produced organically in India. Apart from the edible sector, organic cotton fibre, garments, cosmetics and functional food products are also produced.

Although organic farming is picking up pace in India, the sector has been jostling with lack of awareness, knowledge and confidence.

Farmers as well as consumers do not know about food products.

"We have suggested to promote training programmes for farmers, producers and certification programs for agencies to enhance awareness about organic farming, food products and their health benefits," said Rawat.

Besides, there is a limited expertise in marketing of organic products and the government should engage NGOs to establish close linkages with farmers.

"Only the educated and health-conscious urban lot consumes organic food produced in the country as there is a price difference of about 30 percent between organic and non-organic food," said the study.

The government must promote organic farming by providing training, extension services information and marketing services to farming communities, the study said.