Capacity building and partnership amongst organic industry stakeholders need of the hour
As the world gears up for a long and arduous fight against the Corona pandemic, there is a surge in demand for organic food that help develop immunity and can be produced in a sustainable manner.
The government plans to increase coverage of land under organic farming to 0.7 million hectares which will be associated with more than 1.5 million farmers.
Parshottambhai Rupala, Minister of State, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, at the launch of the website of Association of Indian Organic Industry (AIOI) along with its first newsletter, stressed that this is a timely and much needed initiative of bringing together stakeholder, industry experts, commodity boards and farmers together in taking India forward as the main organic products hub for the global market. He congratulated AIOI members for taking this lead and expressed support to the organic industry to enable the Association build develop capacity for strengthening the organic food sector in India. He echoed the vision of the Prime Minister to double farmer income and export of agricultural products. He informed that a scientific research institution had been set in Sikkim to encourage work in the organic foods sector.
Alongside launch, the virtual meeting saw insightful panel discussion amongst eminent experts. The panelists noted that there was a need for associating farmers in the policy making process to ensure fair income for farmers and growth in the organic sector.
It was highlighted that integrity of organic foods was critical for consumer trust and hence the credibility of the organic certification system needed to be strengthened through training programmes.
It was also pointed out that engaging at the international level to improve the standards would help enhance bilateral trade in organic products. It was noted that the Quality Council of India (QCI) was a member of the International Accreditation Forum having a peer-reviewed Multi-Lateral Agreement and was in discussion with Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to set up a mechanism for certification of organic products for the domestic market including for imported products.