India’s organic agri exports on upswing

Higher returns and growing popularity of organic and horticulture products are making Indian farmers diversify from traditional farming

Sachin Manawaria | @TheDollarBiz Organic food-TDB Growing demand for organic products globally and increasing popularity of Indian organic products is helping increase both production within the country and exports of organic products from India. According to the Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), India exported 135 organic products in FY2012-13 with a realization of $374 million which is up around 4.38% from the previous year. Soyabean makes for the bulk, accounting for around 41% of India’s organic exports, while sugarcane (26%) and processed food (14%) are other major organic exports from India. India also exports organic basmati rice and tea.

India - organic share2013tdb Source - APEDA

India currently ranks tenth among countries in terms of land cultivable under organic condition, but the organic acreage is growing. According to India’s Ministry of Agriculture, the land under organic certification has grown from 4.48 million hectares in 2010 to almost 5.21 million hectares in 2013, and is steadily growing year on year. With greater awareness of organic products and a thrust on the agriculture sector through various government-sponsored schemes, domestic farmers are fetching higher returns through diversification into organic farming. The Indian government encourages organic farming through financial assistance of Rs.5,000 per hectare or Rs.10,000 per beneficiary to promote organic inputs under the Soil Health Management (SHM) scheme of National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA). The government says that more and more farmers are opting for such schemes to enhance their farm income. Organic farming is more popular in states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. However, taking note of the potential, Sikkim is planning make the state an “organic state” by 2015. India - vegetables share2013tdb Indian farmers are also diversifying into horticulture due to significant growth in the exports of fruits and vegetables in last few years. Indian vegetables are usually exported to countries like Pakistan, UAE, UK, Nepal and Saudi Arabia, while fruits are exported to regions like Middle East, Europe and USA. An increase of 6.4% in cultivation of fruits and 7% in vegetable cultivation in last two years indicate that horticulture is becoming more popular in India. According to official sources, the cultivation of fruits in India went up from 67.05 lakh hectares in 2012 to 71.36 lakh hectares in 2014, while the cultivation of vegetables increased from 89.89 lakh hectares to 96.09 lakh hectares during the same period.