The Karnataka government is optimistic about increasing the area under organic farming by 10 per cent from the current 1 per cent. This is part of its efforts under the new initiative organic mission and vision for the future.
Of the 1.12 lakh hectares of land which is under conversion, 51,000 hectares is under certified organic farming, stated officials from the department of agriculture.
The state has the second largest dry land agriculture area, next only to Rajasthan. Organic farm practice has gained considerable potential. The state devised its organic policy in 2004 and has also initiated several programmes under the organic farming policy. In 2008-09 it also constituted the State-level Organic Farming Mission Empowered Committee. It is now in the process of preparing a plan for the three districts of Raichur, Bengaluru and Dharwad, which are home to the three Universities of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) that are playing a key role in the development of sustainable organic farming.
According to the department of agriculture, efforts are on increase the area under cultivation adopting organic farm practices. “Organic farming helps to reduce the input costs. It is sustainable in the long run and reduces environmental hazards. Farmers who have taken on organic farming have opted for chemical-free farming primarily because the high cost of agricultural inputs and the frequent failure of monsoons,” stated Bharat Lal Meena, principal secretary, department of agriculture. His presentation, titled 'Organic Mission in Karnataka: The Years behind and the vision for the future', provided a bird’s eye view of the state’s intention in this sector at the inaugural event of three-day event of the fourth edition of the BioFach India 2012 being held in Bengaluru at the Palace Grounds from November 29 to December 1.
Karnataka chief minister Jagdish Shivappa Shettar inaugurated the event where Umesh V Katti, the state agriculture minister, and S A Ravindranath, horticulture minister, were also present, along with Manoj Kumar Menon, executive director, International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture, and Petra Wolf, member of the management board, Numberg Messe, Germany.
The key objective of the organic expo is to provide a platform where private and public sectors, buyers and sellers and exhibitors and investors can forge a linkage on the progressive organic agriculture by showcasing various products from India and international companies, stated Shettar, who also released ‘The Directory of Organic Stake Holders – 4th Edition.”
The state has provided considerable importance to the research and development of organic products. Presently, there are around 100 non-government organisations (NGOs) across the 30 districts engaged in organic farming and 350 organic farmer groups. There are 48 organic market outlets and exclusive organic restaurants in Bengaluru alone. Even corporate outlets are vying for a separate space with its produce and products. Considerable efforts to brand the products are on and massive awareness on the importance of seeking certification to enter global markets is being undertaken, according to department of agriculture.
The state had also participated in the BioFach Germany which was held early this year and it is encouraging the state organic growers participate at all national and international events.
This year’s event has a seminar focussing on development and issues surrounding Organic Agriculture titled “Organic Movement – Driving Sustainability Forward”.
Leading Indian companies Sresta Natural Bioproducts Ltd, Morarka Organic Foods Pvt Ltd and Arya are among sthe 141 exhibitors.