When I was in Bangalore, just over a week ago I realised my brother’s obsession for organic food. I was always under the notion that organic food would be tasteless and really expensive, but he took it upon himself to prove me wrong. He took me to a Namdhari outlet, a renowned organic food chain in Bangalore and a known name for organic plantation over the world.
Never before had I seen vegetables looking that fresh. And then I found fresh herbs like rosemary, and oregano at Rs.20 a packet. It left me in absolute surprise. And then there were packets of brussels sprouts and asparagus at such cheap prices. Finding these things in India so easily is a tough job, and at those prices, seemed impossible to me.
Then there were grains, cereals, lentils, salts, sugar, anything u name. When we got home he insisted on using just the organic produce to cook the entire meal. And believe me, it was one of the yummiest meals I have ever had in my life. I was converted immediately. This led me to conduct a little research on organic food, now that I am back in Delhi.
The organic food industry in India is booming and the trend for organic food is now growing at a fast pace, especially in the metropolitans. It is growing and out spacing other food categories. Organic food has a lot of benefits and the public opinion, that organic food is healthier than conventional food is also quite strong and is the prime reason for the growth of organic food industry over the past five to six years.
The range of organic produce includes milk products, pickles, lentils, wheat, rice, tea, vegetables, honey etc. This produce is mainly grown in the Uttarakhand region of India. The fertilizers used are also absolutely natural, such as manure and compost and the insects are also controlled using natural methods. There are many stores dedicated exclusively to organic food, also organic food cafes are not far behind with Navdanya Organic Food Café in Delhi gradually gaining prominence.
Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. Farmers producing organic products don’t use conventional methods to fertilize, weed control or prevent disease in livestock. Rather than using chemical fertilizers the farmer may resort to crop rotation or spread mulch or manure to control weed.
Currently, India ranks 33rd in terms of total land under organic cultivation and 88th position for agriculture land under organic crops to talk farming area. In India, APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) is the certifying agency for organic food. It works under the ministry of agriculture and the certification issued by APEDA is recognised by USDA (U.S Department of Agriculture).
Organic food does seem to be India’s future, however, many people who are a part of this industry believe that its high prices may come in the way, also the industry can grow further only if the government of India gives them support and helps them in making production affordable and by spreading awareness amongst people about its benefits.
(video credit – ET Now)
So what is organic food and how is it certified in India?
(video credit – chaiwithlakshmi)