Certification agency to promote organic farming

Bombay: The state government created the Organic Certification Body (OCA) to promote organic farming. The agency, headquartered in Akola and regional offices in other cities, will grant accreditation to help farmers sell organic produce inside and outside the country. The OCA will be headed by the Secretary of Agriculture made up of members of organizations engaged in organic farming and organic farming officials from agricultural universities.

In a government resolution released on Friday, Agriculture Department Undersecretary Umesh Chandiwade said the government is currently promoting organic farming with the active participation of various government and non-government organizations and agricultural universities in order to sensitize the various stakeholders.

Even as organic acreage increases in the state, farmers are unable to sell their produce due to lack of certification. Chandiwade said farmers have to get certification from private agencies, which is expensive.

The Agriculture Department said the Processed Food and Agricultural Export Development Authority (APEDA), the Ministry of Trade and Industry, is implementing the National Organic Production Program (NPOP). The program includes accreditation of certification bodies, organic production standards, promotion of organic farming and marketing, etc.

The NPOP standards for production and the accreditation system have been recognized by the European Commission and Switzerland for unprocessed plant products as equivalent to their country’s standards. With these recognitions, Indian organic products duly certified by accredited certification bodies of India are accepted by importing countries. APEDA is also in negotiations with South Korea, Taiwan, Canada and Japan.

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Posted on: Saturday Aug 28, 2021 01:47 IST

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