Organic Farming - The future of Indian agriculture
Organic farming reduces public health risk by minimal exposure to toxic chemicals and pesticides, especially to children and the vulnerable population. According to studies, organically produced food reduces public health risks because it is rich in multiple nutrients such as vitamins, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. It has been observed that even the fruits, vegetables, and grains produced organically are rich in nutrients as compared to conventionally grown produce.
In India, the organic food industry came into the limelight a decade ago. Increased awareness about the detrimental effects of artificial chemicals used in food production also helped boost this industry's growth. Ecommerce is another major factor in the evolution of organic food sales. Due to this, the number of consumers is going upwards only since 2013.
India's organic food consumption has grown in recent years due to its advanced demographic dividend, improved purchasing power, and increased interest in the benefits of a particular product. The Expert Market Research report shows that the organic food market stood at a value of US$ 849.5 million (approximately Rs 6500 crore) in 2020. In the forecast period of 2021 and 2026, the market is expected to reach the value of 20.5% by CAGR that is US$ 2601 million (approximately Rs 19500 crore) by 2026.
Organic food production helps farmers in the long run. This is because the use of no pesticides and insecticides means that they end up spending lesser money on these chemicals. According to experts, soil health remains intact with the use of organic pesticides. Apart from this, the absence of pesticides ensures decreased nitrate levels in groundwater and surface water and recycling of the animal waste back into the farm. The farmers can make more money with organic farming, as the cost of this product is slightly higher than the conventionally grown produce. Following are some of the reasons why the organic food industry is expected to rise in demand:
The eCommerce push
Due to the rise in smartphone usage and the low-cost availability of the internet, access to information about organic products has increased. Ecommerce is like a salesperson reaching out to its consumer across the country. This is one of the reasons why the growth of organic food was harnessed by tier 1 cities, but the potential customers were reached in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Ecommerce has increased the demand and made it competitive by encouraging more and more startups entering into the market.
There is an insignificant price difference between organic and conventional food. While organic food might be a little higher on the cost end, it also offers multiple health benefits and prevents our body from the needless intake of pesticides and fertilizers. During the ongoing pandemic, people realize that the higher price of healthy food also cuts down the medical expense. Consumers nowadays are ready to pay extra for a beneficial product.
The Indian government is also helping and promoting farmers to adopt organic farming. Multiple government awareness like National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), National Food Security Mission (NFSM), and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) have been implemented to promote the sector. The government has also developed a nationwide awareness program called National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) to educate farmers about organic products and their benefits.
Greater awareness equals increased demand
The growth of organic product awareness has become a global phenomenon, and it has been receiving appreciation even on international platforms. India being an agricultural country, the weather and climate are perfect for organic agriculture; due to this, the export rate of organic foods is very high. According to reports, the demand for Indian organic food is constantly increasing worldwide. The country exported 6.38 lakh tons of organic food products valued at Rs 4,685.90 crore in 2019-20.
Rishabh Chokhani is chief executive officer of Naturevibe Botanicals. Chokhani founded Naturevibe Botanicals in 2017. His passion for health and wellness started with his transformation from being obese to being fit and healthy. Following his passion, he plans to start operations in India under a subsidiary of Naturevibe Botanicals to sell and promote greener ways of living by providing the best natural alternatives and organic food.