More than 30 per cent of world’s organic producers are in India
India has the largest number of organic producers in the world, according to the World of Organic Agriculture Report 2018 published in February. With 835,000 certified organic producers, it is home to more than 30 per cent of total number of organic producers (2.7 million) in the world. Uganda (210,352) and Mexico (210,000) are the second and third largest organic producers.
World’s biggest organic agriculture think tank ‘international forum for organic agriculture movements’ (IFOAM), along with research institute for organic agriculture (FiBL) has published their latest study on the World of Organic Agriculture 2018. Study reveals that the global trend of growth in organic agriculture production is continuing and India had topped the global list for the number of organic agriculture producers. The data was collected from 178 countries by the research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), the State of Sustainability Initiative (SSI), and International Trade Center. The survey is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the International Trade Centre (ITC), and came right in the middle of BIOFACH in Germany (world’s most renowned organic agriculture show).
However, when it comes to area under certified organic cultivation, India contributes only 2.59 per cent (1.5 million hectares) of the total area (57.8 million hectares). China has around 50 per cent and India has 30 percent of total organic cultivable land in Asia. The latest data shows that current area under organic cultivation, which is a significant increase from just 11 million hectares in 1999, is still 1.2 per cent of the total agriculture land. Australia, according to the report, has largest organic agriculture land (27.1 million hectares), followed by Argentina (3 million hectares) and China (2.4 million hectares). In fifteen countries, 10 percent or more of all agricultural land is organic, a new record.
The 19th edition of the World of Organic Agriculture report claimed that organic agriculture area, and its products value has increased. The organic products worth $90 billion were sold globally in 2016. The USA, Germany and France enjoy the largest share of market in organic produce. Switzerland tops in per capita consumption of organic produce, followed by Denmark and Sweden.
Terrace garden to farming: Urban dwellers show the organic way
An increasing number of professionals in Delhi and NCR are now renting agricultural land for organic farming. And cashing in on the growing desire among urban dwellers to grow their own food are many enterprises, which help them lease farms, provide technical guidance and raw materials. Green Leaf India, a community of about 80 urban organic farmers in Gurgaon have rented 52 farms, where they grow everything, from tomatoes to potatoes, for their kitchen. The district horticulture department has helped them rent the land from farmers and provides the technical know-how. Farmers in villages neighbouring Gurgaon, were convinced to rent out their land to these professionals. Every individual in the community has a 600-yard farm for which they contribute Rs 28, 000 every six months, including the cost of seeds and the salaries of nine labourers they have hired to help them. The community pays Rs 60,000 per acre per annum as rent to the land owners. The unique urban farming community comprising IT professionals, doctors and lawyers connect on a WhatsApp group, discussing everything from how to make manure to sowing seeds.
Not just Gurgaon villages, many are leasing farmland in places such as Palwal. Many agri-enterprises like the Organic Maati and Edible Routes who help urban residents to lease farmlands believe they are creating a sustainable local food and agricultural system that benefits the farmers, urban communities, and the environment.
International Millet Mela gives a push to millet farming
The three-day international millet mela, Organics & Millets-2018, turnout of over 2.10 lakh at the fair which provided a platform for local farmers to connect with national and international markets. The fair hosted 357 stalls over a 3,500 sqft area and participants included global names like JRMT Global General Trading LLC from Dubai, FiBL from Switzerland, IFOAM Asia from South Korea, besides buyers from the USA, Germany, Uganda, China and Malaysia. Over 15 international buyers, trade associations and 50 domestic buyers took part in the meeting with suppliers and organic farmer federations.
Twenty-one Jaivik Awards were given for outstanding achievements across multiple categories to farmers, farmer organizations, state agencies and private organizations who have excelled in organic cultivation.
The fair generated a total business of Rs 107 crores and also established long-term commitments.
The organic food court, Khanavali, was one of the top attractions. It also played host to the Food and Nutritional Forum where conferences, competitions, workshops, demonstrative sessions and group discussions were held.
FAO launches Global Farmer Field School Knowledge Platform
Farmer Field Schools, a community-driven approach to agricultural training and education, are increasingly in demand around the world for their ability to help smallholder farmers cope with complex challenges.
FAO, having set up the first FFS in the late 1980s, supports them in more than 90 countries today, with 70 FFS projects in Africa alone. There are now more than 12 million “graduates” worldwide.
In response to the increasing demand for FFS, FAO has set up a Global Farmer Field School Knowledge Platform with more than 15 partner organizations to facilitate access to best practices and specific expertise. The purpose of the platform, the first of seven new global knowledge products that FAO is developing to promote sustainable agriculture, is to strengthen the quality of FFS at a time when they are poised for rapid upscaling. The platform is a space for sharing knowledge and expertise on Farmer Field Schools. It is a means to connect a global Community of Practice and facilitate partnerships among institutions committed to sustainable farming, education and empowering people.
It includes a library of key resources, online profiles of experts, a news service and a global email discussion group for practitioners from more than 100 countries. Over 300 documents (case studies, training manuals, impact assessments, journal articles, videos, pictures, etc.) are available in various languages. Over 250 FFS resource persons from different regions of the world have registered themselves in the global roster of FFS experts, including master trainers, evaluators and project managers