Why is that despite numerous benefits, the organic farming is not a priority in India? Discuss the issues and challenges.

Organic farming focus on sustainability, it is an agriculture system without the use of synthetically fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators etc. Organic farming can not only improve soil fertility but it can also help in increasing farmers income. However, despite benefits, the organic farming system is not so popular among farmers.
As per recent survey-based study organic farming faces following key issues which affect the livelihood and income of farmers :

  1. Poor Supply Chain
    The supply chain is underdeveloped specifically in hilly regions and tribal belts, also there is lack of storage facilities which leads to spoilage. Due to infrastructural bottlenecks, only a few companies mostly source from the Northeastern states and tribal belts, despite their high potential in organic farming. Along with that farmers lack the right linkages and are therefore dependent on middlemen.
  2. Export certification
    As per APEDA third-party certification is required for exports. This limitation on exports is not good. Unless farmers under Participatory Guarantee System(which is a self-certification process)are allowed to export, they cannot get the premium price.
  3. Risk of Yield Loss
    When farmer shift from chemical-based farming to organic farming, there is a risk of yield loss. Various countries such as UK, provide subsidies to compensate for the yield loss due to such shifting. However, in India, does not provide such subsidy. Along with that most of the subsidies are for chemical-based inputs. Since the cost of laboratory testing and third-party certification in case of organic farming is high a subsidy can provide a cushion for organic farming.
  4. Good quality organic inputs
    There is a shortage of quality inputs which further increases the risk of loss of yield. So there should be more focus on crop-specific and region-specific research and development (R&D) on organic inputs.
  5. Lack of policy for organic farming
    The biggest challenge in case of organic farming is the lack of an organic policy for the domestic market and imports. Due to the absence of regulation, it is not possible to differentiate an organic product from a conventional product. Without any policy, it difficult to punish fraudulent suppliers.

Organic farming is sustainable agriculture practice and if proper policy initiatives are taken organic farming is expected to grow at 20% which will help in improving farmers income.


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