Organic Farming In India: A Vision or Challenge To National Food Security

India along with the other third world countries at large had been practically following an organic agriculture till the 50′s decade (World organic agriculture & TSR report). In light of the previous statement, organic farming or agrarian practices may not be called as a new state of the art technology. In fact, any traditional farming practitioner will suggest the current trend of organic farming as the repeat of the history. Organic products are developed without the support of chemical based fertilisers and pesticides.

It is though a doubtful vision of thinking a sustainable future in agriculture through organic farming.

Globally only 1.1 per cent of agricultural land is under organic agriculture. The two third of organic growth is of grass to support livestock while the rest of agricultural land (only 33 per cent) produces products for direct human consumption (IFOM, United Nations and TSR).

It is also evident that organic farms have been found to have a crop yield of 20 per cent less than the conventional farms. Few other studies suggest that this yield may be as low as 50 per cent of total farming. India had also witnessed a decline in organic farming from the financial year 2011 to 2014 from 3.8 million tonnes to 1.24 million tonnes respectively. In an alarming situation, previous three years has also seen a further drop in production that was around 70 per cent.

Nearly 90 per cent of the product obtained from organic farming is either not exported or is not considered to be of export quality suggests crop protection chemical residues coordination (DAC). Organic farming also requires considerably more farm land in size, which is a challenge due to deteriorating land farm sizes (an uncontrollable phenomenon as the population is rising). In such a case, organic farming with less productivity may never be sufficient enough for the national food security.

A surprising finding is that no actual data of organic agrarian production is available with the ministry of agriculture (commodity wise data is unavailable) neither such data is given by any state government. Few reports suggest that official data related to organic farming which is available in India is allegedly doctored. For instance a data by National Centre for Organic Farming (NCOF) on progress of organic farming in India shows aberration- Delhi which has total geographical area of around 1.48 lakh hectare had been shown as one lakh hectare under organic farming (more than 70 per cent of entire land), it was data of 2011-12. The doubt starts with NCOF data when it is noticed that area under organic farming had been on the rise from 266 hectares in 2010-10 to one lakh hectare in 2011-12. More interesting part of the report is that farm production in 2,172 tonnes in 2010-11 had crashed to just 10-kilo-grams in 2011-12.

If we take Sikkim as an organic state, for example, Sikkim’s productivity per hectare is five tonne per hectare for vegetables. The population of Sikkim has been on the rise it has gone up to 50 per cent in two decades with fall in food grain production of about 30 per cent (FAO, United Nations and TSR). This creates a doubt for other Indian states to adopt a well marketed Sikkim organic model, as it may lead to a food crisis in the Nation.