Organic Farming Policies and Support: What Farmers Need to Know

Organic farming is becoming popular worldwide. In India, too, many farmers are switching to organic methods because the profits from organic produce are more than conventionally produced crops. 

What is Organic Farming?

The concept of organic farming was founded by Lord Northbourne in 1990. It uses organically prepared fertilizers and pesticides to cultivate crops. Conversely, the use of chemical and synthetic fertilizers is eliminated. 

Organic farming ensures soil health does not deteriorate and crop produce is healthier as it retains nutrients and antioxidants. 

What are the Benefits of Organic Farming? - Insights from Pravin J Chandan

  • Organic farming is not hazardous to the environment as it is chemical and fertilizer-free. 
  • It is more economical as farmers don’t need to buy expensive pesticides, fertilizers, or HYV seeds for crop plantation. 
  • A farmer can earn a good return on investment by using cheaper and local inputs. 
  • The demand for organic products is growing in India and globally, creating more income opportunities through export. 
  • Organic crops are tastier, healthier, and more nutritional than chemical and fertilizer-utilized products. 

Organic Farming Policies and Support

The Indian government has implemented specific policies for the development of organic farming to support farmers and gain economic benefits. 

  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)
    PKVY was announced in 2015 and adopted organic villages. It aims to manage soil health, which is the most critical aspect of the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA). It focuses on reducing the use of chemical fertilizers in hilly or rainy areas. Through the scheme, organic farmers are offered subsidies for promoting organic farming. 
  • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)
    This scheme promotes organic farming methods in districts and states by developing agricultural plans. It aims to give organic farmers maximum returns and reap nutritional benefits from organically cultivated products. The policy’s goal is to improve people’s health, particularly the marginalized sector. 
  • Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER)
    The ministry announced this organic policy for the growth and development of organic farming in the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura. The objective is to sustain a developmental value chain in the market by formulating market link strategies and high-quality organic product storage. 
  • National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP)
    This scheme’s objective is to increase oil palm plantations and boost the production of edible oils. 
  • Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CISS) Under the Soil Health Management Scheme
    This policy aims to increase agriculture production by managing soil health. It also aims to ensure environmental safety and reduce chemical fertilizer use. 
  • National Horticulture Mission
    Under this scheme, the government takes initiatives to train farmers on organic methods. Land is also distributed among organic farmers as part of economic organic farming. 
  • One District - One Product (ODOP)
    The ODOP policy promotes balanced regional development across all districts of the country. It focuses on selecting, branding, and promoting one product from every district of the country. 
  • Zero Budget Natural Farming
    This policy is essential for organic farming’s economy. It is inspired by traditional Indian agricultural practices and eliminates the use of synthetic fertilizers.
  • Agri-Export Policy
    The agri-export policy, launched in 2018, promotes organic farming and creates a market impact. It relates to the economic planning of organic farming. 
  • National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF)
    This scheme is recognized by the European Union and Switzerland. It aims to enhance organic production units, biofertilizers, and biopesticides to reduce the reliance on chemical fertilizers. It encourages the adoption of organic farming and offers certification programs. 

Should all Indian Farmers Opt for Organic Farming? - Opinions from Pravin Chandan’s Profile

The 1960 Green Revolution helped India become self-sufficient in food grains. However, soil and human health began to deteriorate with time due to the excessive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. This resulted in Indian farmers needing an alternative to conventional farming. 

Organic farming is one solution that can help restore soil health and produce more nutritious food. But, an entire shift can lead to foodgrain deficiency. Such a scenario was witnessed in Sri Lanka in 2021 when President Rajapaksha decided to ban the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers overnight. The country’s farmers suffered significantly because organic pesticides could not control the pests that attacked the foodgrains and crops. 

Therefore, while organic farming is a healthier solution, it should be combined with natural farming. The shift must be gradual, or there will be a risk of food deficiency. The most beneficial farming strategy is reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and blending organic and conventional methods.

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