India is a home for more than 30 percent of total organic producers in the world and accounts for just 1.5 per cent of organic farmland globally. According to Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), most of the organic farmers are struggling due to poor policy measures, rising input costs and limited market. The most important challenge in India has been to produce enough food for the growing population, where an organic farming can provide the quality food without affecting the soil’s health and environment.
Most of the conventional farmers in India are facing various problems such as decline in soil productivity, soil compaction, loss of soil organic matter and water holding capacity along with water scarcity in many places due to an overuse of surface and ground water for irrigation. But organic farming is a production system which can help the farmers by avoiding the usage of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives. It also helps in protecting the environment by minimizing soil degradation and erosion, decreasing the pollution and maintains long-term soil fertility by optimizing conditions for biological activity within the soil.
Some of the major factors affecting organic farming are:
1. Convincing the Farmers
Organic products are bit expensive when compared to conventional products and it also involves a constant expenditure, where most of the farmers are not in a position to afford the cost of an organic farming. Along with that, Organic seeds take more time to grow and the storage of final products are also expensive. So, convincing the farmers to shift into organic farming is a challenge and that might have an immediate commercial impact on their income too. In order to overcome this problems, the government should initiate a schemes such as “Swachh Food” similar to that of “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” which can help the farmers in leading their life.
2. Shortage of Organic Seeds
Organic seeds are highly regulated and governed by various government policies where government provide subsidies for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, but there is no such provision for organic seeds or inputs. There are huge number of certification programs for organic seeds, but there is no recognition for certified seeds. Due to the less availability of certified organic seeds, farmers are forced and advised to use the conventional seeds only. Hence the government should implement a separate policy framework for organic farming which covers the seeds production and input supplies.
3. Disparity of Supply and Demand
Non-perishable grains can be grown on any cultivation lands and transported to any location, but this is not the case with fruits and vegetables. It should be produced locally and in turn there should be demand from companies, aggregators and farmers around that particular area. But generally, the demand comes from metros where there are no farmlands to produce organic fruits and vegetables. This type of disparity can be overcomed by initiating smart transport and dedicated channels of supply.
4. Lack of Marketing
Organic Products like bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides are yet to become popular in developing country like India due to lack of marketing and distribution network. Because, the retailers are not interested to deal with organic products as the demand for them is low in the market, while chemical fertilizers and pesticides are gaining more profit by heavy advertisement campaigns from manufacturers and dealers. An erratic supplies and low level awareness of the cultivators is an added problem. Which are affecting the markets of organic products in India.
5. Inadequate Resources
Livestock resources play an important role in strengthening of agricultural practices for large amount of masses in India. With an advent of technology, the livestock population has declined sharply and large part of rural population is poor who mainly depends on animal manure for domestic fuel, which further constraints the availability of manure for agricultural purpose. Additionally, most of the crop residues in our country are removed from fields for the purpose of fodder and fuel which has led to the use mulch farming techniques resulting in failure.
The organic products should be used not only as a product, but also by consciousness about our health. Consumption of conventional products may risk our lives. Hence, to avoid such scenarios we should start using organic products in our daily life and increase the demand for them. This will in turn help our farmers to move towards organic farming rather than conventional farming which is full of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.