Organic farming can play a significant role in improving the country's organic food trade, according to The Union Agriculture Minister, Sharad Pawar.
Addressing the parliamentary consultative committee attached to his ministry, Pawar said organic agriculture had made good progress in India during last six years.
"In India, as against 42,000 ha under certified organic farming during 2003-04, initial estimates for 2009-10 indicate that organic agriculture under certification has grown to 10.5 ha, out of which nearly 7.5 lakh ha is fully certified while remaining 3 lakh ha in under various stages of conversion," Pawar said.
He said that his ministry is promoting organic farming in the country through various schemes such as National Project on Organic Farming, National Horticulture Mission, Technology Mission for North East and Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.
Pawar said that two new innovative components-biological soil health assessment and introduction of PGS certification system have been added in the National Project on Organic Farming from this year.
He said that the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has initiated an all India network project on organic farming to ensure the development and promotion of scientifically proven methodologies in organic farming.
Describing organic farming as an ideal option for rainfed, marginal land and hilly areas, Pawar said the promotion of organic farming will not only ensure increased availability of organic and biological source of nutrients but will also provide technologies and information which help other forms of agriculture in restoring soil health and conservation of resources.
He called for tapping the growing demand for organic food in domestic and international market for the benefit of farmers and the country.
Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim, Mizoram and Uttarakhand have already drafted policies for organic farming promotion, Pawar said, adding that Nagaland, Sikkim, Mizoram and Uttarakhand have declared their intention to go 100 percent organic in the near future.
Apart from Pawar, the others present at the meeting included Minister of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Prof. K.V Thomas, LOk Sabha lawmakers A. Ganeshamurthi, Sharief-ud-din Shariq, Dhruva Narayana Rangaswamy, M. Krishnaswamy, K.Sugumar, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Gobind Chandra Naskar and H.D. Kumaraswamy.
The Rajya Sabha was represented by Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, Govindrao Adik, Vikram Verma, Khekiho Zhimomi and Renubala Pradhan.