Organic Universe

Organic is all the rage. Organic food, cosmetics, clothes and even organic medicines. But mostly it is food. There are speciality stores that sell only such items, while supermarket chains are stocking more of these products which are sold at a premium and come with certification that it is grown without chemical inputs and synthetic additives. But as Middle India discovers the virtues of naturally grown food, thanks to increasing awareness about the dangers of high pesticide use in conventional farming, it raises fundamental questions about Indian agriculture and the path it needs to take, especially in view of climate change concerns. Latha Jishnu and Jyotika Sood go to the roots of the organic phenomenon to understand the changes taking place in farmers’ fields and the policies that are driving organic agriculture, or holding it back

By Jyotika Sood, Latha Jishnu
Last Updated: Sunday 07 June 2015

Organic Universe

organic universeIt is a universe of its own—an expanding universe that has its own producers and consumers, its entrepreneurs, its markets, its passionate aficionados of scientists and evangelists. It is a universe that is governed by a different set of regulations and plays strictly by the rules, for the most part. In the politics of agriculture, its ideology is controversial since it goes against mainstream wisdom, almost heretical since it sets out to disprove the dominant chemical-driven theology of the past 60 years. We are talking about organic farming.

Why is organic farming controversial? At a fundamental level, it sets out to prove that you do not need chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilisers to produce adequate quantities of food. Organic farming works in harmony with nature by using simple techniques and material: recycled and composted crop waste and animal manure; crop rotation; legumes to fix soil nitrogen; encouraging useful predators that eat pests and natural pesticides; and a careful husbanding of water resources. The bottom line: increasing genetic diversity and conservation. It also means that no genetically modified crop is part of this ecosystem. The result: healthier farmers and risk-free food.

organic crops

It is a philosophy that has caught the fancy of some unlikely players. Some have given up well-heeled jobs in the Silicon Valley, others a lucrative legal career. There are doctors who have turned into farmers, and management professionals into organic retailers. In all cases, there was a desire “to return to natural methods of cultivation sans chemicals” and to grow “real food that tastes like it used to”.

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Among these remarkable men is Rajashekar Reddy Seelam, who literally crossed over to the other side: he switched from selling chemical inputs to farmers for a major company to becoming an organic cultivator himself.

Along the way, Seelam became a pioneer in retailing organic food and his store, 24 Letter Mantra, is now the top brand in the domestic market with an increasingly successful franchisee model, besides being a leading exporter. Sresta, the company he set up in 2004 to promote organic cultivation, works with over 8,000 farmers who cultivate around 60 crops on around 12,140 hectares (ha) spread across 12 states.

It uses the contract farming model. Seelam says Sresta’s scouting teams of trained agriculture graduates are careful to select farming tracts where soil and water contamination is negligible. Across India, groundwater contamination through leeching of pesticides has become a scourge after five decades of the Green Revolution theology that decrees huge lashings of synthetic fertilisers and chemical pesticides to improve yield from hybrid seeds.

“The thought that we should move away from the conventional wisdom first came to me in 1992 when I was aggressively promoting the chemical additives,” says Seelam. But it was not till 2004 that he took the plunge. Everyone told him it would be foolish to waste money on such an impractical idea.


Sresta, however, has stayed the course and notched up a turnover of Rs 55 crore. This may not be much and it underlines the problems of organic farming in the country—extremely small holdings, poor knowledge of scientific organic practices, certification that is both cumbersome and expensive for small holders, lack of markets and glaring lack of support from the government which, ironically, is footing a subsidy bill of around Rs 90,000 crore on fertilisers alone. Says G V Ramanjaneyulu, director of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Hyderabad: “The government simply refuses to see the wisdom of promoting a proven system of farming that will cost so much less, both for the farmer and the government, and a system that benefits the land and consumers.”

Ramanjaneyulu, former scientist with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), was responsible for launching the non-pesticide movement in Andhra Pradesh that has freed around 1.5 million ha from the grip of chemical pesticides. The state is now moving towards helping such farmers to get organic certification.

Different business models are being tried out to make such farming profitable for the smallholder. With entrepreneurial enthusiasm linked to a love of “clean farming”, interesting experiments have emerged. One is Dharani Suphalam, a primary producers’ cooperative society based in Sirsa, Haryana, which has brought together 1,500 farmers and is slowly linking them to the market (see ‘Innovative farm-to-home trail’). Another is the model used by Bengaluru-based Sahaja Samrudha Organic Producer Company that was set up in 2010 with authorised capital of Rs 10 lakh. It brings together 500 farmers through 40 groups. Its wholesale-cum-retail outlet in a central part of the city is a no-frills godown where bags of millets, rice and legume jostle for space with fresh mangoes and vegetables. But customers have no problem with its ambience since prices are reasonable.

Rajashekar Reddy Seelam switched from selling chemical inputs to farmers to becoming an organic cultivator

“Our concept is different,” explains Somesha B, CEO of Sahaja. “We are working with farmers, helping them to convert to organic and provide marketing assurance. So we keep our margins low: 10-15 per cent mark-up for wholesale and 20-25 per cent for retail. In any case, the profits go back to the farmer since they have shares in the company.” Turnover last year was Rs 52 lakh, but Sahaja is certain revenue will double this year.

One of the biggest grassroots success stories is of Morarka Foundation which, with its 100-plus project locations covering 19 states, has brought around 100,000 farmers under the umbrella of Morarka Organic. This has helped it understand the different agro-climatic problems and gain expertise in handling over 130 crops/products which, it says, form its core portfolio and are offered both as farm grade as well as processed and in retail packs that are sold under the Down to Earth brand (no connection with this magazine).

There are others like the feisty H R Jayaram who gave up a prosperous law practice to become an organic farmer-cum-retailer. He has set up what is probably India’s first organic hotel, The Green Path, in a Bengaluru suburb. Jayaram’s aim is to fire others with his passion and “to create replicable models that will inspire more people to take up organic”. Sahaja and enthusiasts like Jayaram have held regular organic food melas, which has helped make Bengaluru India’s undisputed organics capital. Restaurants, coffee shops and stores like Simply Organics run by another farming buff Govind Kabadi make for zesty organic profile for this city. Aiding this is the state government which gives Karnataka farmers a big helping hand in finding outlets for their produce.

But the corner organic store with crowded shelves is not the dominant image of organic retailing. The familiar milieu is the chic store in tony localities that sell beautifully packaged products that come with all kinds of certification—from NPOP (National Programme on Organic Production), which is the Indian standard, to those of the EU and the US. Here premiums are high since products come through many layers of marketing. The other place where one is bound to find such products are supermarket chains like Chennai-based Spencer’s which has a national footprint. Says a spokesperson for the chain: “We are a food-first multi-format retailer and sell a wide range of brands like 24 Letter Mantra, Down To Earth, Pro Nature and Pro Organic.” Growth has been phenomenal. Starting with two brands in 2006, Spencer’s organic category has grown by 300 per cent in last three years. Besides, its offerings which were restricted to commodities like cereals, pulses and spices, are spilling into a wide assortment from breakfast cereals to snacks and soups. For those who have the money, such outlets are a cornucopia of natural goodness.

Delhi-based Fabindia, which caters to the well-heeled and trendy customer, is a leading purveyor of organic foods, its elite stores across the country stocking carefully selected products. Ashima Agarwal, who heads the organic foods division, is unwilling to disclose the amount of business this segment brings in, but says: “Though small, organic foods are witnessing growth in terms of customer base and consumption. We started with 70 products and today offer more than 300 products and are still growing.” For William Bissell, Fabindia founder, the foray into organics from clothes, furnishings and traditional crafts was inspired by a book Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe, a 1971 bestseller which advocated ecologically sound production of food. “Then when I was in the US, I worked on the organic farm of Gordon Ridgeway who was a purist and influenced me greatly,” says Bissell. Although he would like to keep fresh produce in his stores, there are too many logistical issues.

Logistics are critical to the success of organic farming and the reason such produce is far too expensive for the ordinary consumer. For instance, products sold by non-profit Navdanya are more expensive than similar items that are not organic. Founder Vandana Shiva has an explanation: “For me, organic farming is about livelihood and about sustainability and justice. When a farmer practices organic agriculture, he knows how to sustain his farm with natural resources; he is able to feed himself and his family; takes care of earth by giving natural resources back in forms of bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides without polluting the environment.” Naturally, all this comes at a price since the government offers no help at all.

The booming growth in organic foods may well spell hope for the small farmer. With health-conscious and cash-rich customers ready to pay the premium for organic food, the market is expanding in dramatic ways. High-end, imported organic has also come to India. The first such is businessman Dilip Doshi’s Organic Hauswhich which has opened in Ahmedabad and Mumbai. For Doshi it is business pure and simple; he does not claim to promote organic because it is better for the environment or for the farmer. Every product in his uber-luxury stores is imported from Germany and Austria.

“Mine is a concept store. It tells the story of the evolution of globally benchmarked products. You can close your eyes and say this is organic. I could not find any genuine organic foods in India,” declares Doshi. That could come as a crushing blow to all the organisations, farmers and activists who have struggled to put Indian organic on the global map. But fortunately in Europe and the US, which together account for 96 per cent of the market, India’s credentials are respected even if it accounted for just a fraction of the US $59 billion global market for certified organic food and drink. India’s exports in 2010-11 totalled just Rs 550 crore, according to Manoj Kumar Menon, executive director of the International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture or ICCOA, which is a knowledge centre for all facets of organic agriculture and also helps provide market linkages to all those engaged in organic agriculture.

Fabindia’s stores across the country stock carefully selected organic products

ICCOA is a crucial link to the market with its international trade fair Bio Fach India which draws over 100 global companies and thousands of visitors to its annual event. Menon is confident that India will become a significant player in the next four years when production is expected to touch Rs 4,000 crore, a huge leap from the current Rs 675 crore. By then, the global trade is expected to cross US $104 billion in 2015 at an estimated annual rate of 12.8 per cent. On the global organic map, India is a speck; it does not figure in the list of the top 10 countries. According to data released in June 2012 by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture of Switzerland, there was a total of 37 million ha of agricultural land that was organic in 2010. In addition, the organic universe had another 43 million ha of non-agricultural areas, up from 41 million ha in 2009.

What was India’s share? It had 0.6 million ha under cultivation, another 0.18 million ha under conversion along with wild area of 3.56 million ha. IFOAM statistics also put the total number of organic farmers worldwide at about 1.6 million, with the largest number, a whopping one million of them, in India. This is where our organic story gets truly interesting. In fact, the slight dip in organic agriculture area in 2010 was on account of India which reported the loss of 0.4 million ha of organic cultivation. But that trend is reversing. Says A K Yadav, director of National Centre of Organic Farming (NCOF): “The declining trend has been reversed and the area under certification process during 2011-12 is likely to be more than one million hectares.” He also makes the point that all the statistics with NCOF are for the area which is registered under certification process. “There is no reliable data on farmers doing organic but have not opted for certification.”

In all probability it means that organic cultivation is more widespread than estimated, although the Ministry of Agriculture is doing its best to undermine this through its various programmes. For instance, it has allowed its flagship scheme Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana to be used by states to convert tribal areas or the organic wild centre to conventional farming through the provision of free hybrid seeds in kits that also contain chemical pesticides and fertilisers. There is also the looming threat of climate change and its impact on agriculture.

While Krishi Bhavan has finally asked Ardhendu Sen, a former bureaucrat now with TERI, to draft a policy document for the promotion of organic agriculture, farmers are deciding on their own what’s in their best interest.

Innovative farm-to-home trail
imageWHEN 29-year-old Sunil Gupta (left) gave up his job as operations manager with a European GIS systems manufacturer in 2001 to try his hand at organic farming, it seemed a romantic idea. He would grow safe, wholesome crops without chemical pesticides and fertilisers on his 14-ha farm in Sirsa, Haryana. It turned out to be a nightmare. “The first year I failed miserably. I sought help from the Haryana Agriculture Department. But they had no clue what I was trying to do.”

Gupta travelled across Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan to know how agriculture was practised before the Green Revolution, which advocated generous lashings of synthetic fertilisers and chemical pesticides. Gupta began farming using manure and compost and biodynamics—sowing and planting as per astronomical calendar. The yield dropped, but the soil started regenerating and the food was safer to eat.

Gupta then got neighbouring farmers to turn organic cultivators. For the manure, he hit upon an innovative idea. Gaushalas, run by local communities as a relgious duty, had no money to feed the cows and found disposal of dung a problem. He persuaded the farmers to accept feed for the cows in return for the dung. Now, there is enough manure for the 1,214 ha belonging to the 1,500 small farmers who are members of Dharani Suphalam, a primary producers’ society.

Dharani Suphalam produces about two tonnes of fruits and vegetables daily. How does this reach consumers? Gupta, as president of the society, ties up with top organic stores in Gurgaon, Jalandhar and Ludhiana. Dharani Suphalam has a marketable surplus of 1,000 tonnes of wheat, 500 tonnes of rice and 100 tonnes of mustard oil. Talks are under way with exporters but are yet to translate into contracts.

imageBut prospects are improving with players like Ashmeet Kapoor (right) who left an electrical engineering job in the US. Kapoor, 26, is the last vital link in getting fresh veggies into homes. He has set up I Say Organic, a home delivery service that works in south Delhi and Gurgaon. Its one cold store and four vans handle about two tonnes of produce daily from Dharani and producers in Himachal Pradesh. The vans ferry veggies on orders placed on the company’s website or by phone. Prices are high but then, Kapoor says, he is giving farmers 25 per cent premium over mandi prices.

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Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.

  • Mischa Popoff, an IOIA

    Mischa Popoff, an IOIA Advanced Organic Inspector in a book "Is it Organic?" said that the main problem is related to the bodies that approve the logos, for organic or fair trade foods. Its an open secret that the industry is characterised by widespread bribery and shadowy business deals. Farmers and indigenous people are being lied to, promised the earth and stolen from.

    This report in Down To earth confirms what we all know. The premium attached to organic food is not for the masses but for the small affluent pockets within the country and export economies who already have agriculture surpluses.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • The sustainable agriculture

    The sustainable agriculture story must be written about constantly like this piece in DTE. These "good" stories are essential so all of us realise that we can make a change as consumers and producers. However, while cities and towns are seeing a spurt in restaurants and organic shops the livelihood story of small and marginal farmers is still bleak. From personal experience working with small and marginal farmers to promote agroecological practices in farming, it is evident that (i) there is no market incentive for small farmers located far away from cities and towns to move towards sustainable farming (ii) even those who are located proximal to towns and cities are not able to access supply channels to the organic stores (iii) small farmers, unless they are organised into collectives by NGOs, do not have the resources to leave their farms and convey their produce to markets. If the "organic revolution" or rather the "sustainable farming" revolution is to really make a difference to the livelihood of the small producer and therefore the land and water resources, significant State support in the form of support for inputs (seed, labour, microirrigation, storage areas etc.) and of course well organised market links must be provided. Otherwise, I am afraid it will remain yet another example of environmental elitism which is increasingly emerging as the the new "caste system".

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • Mischa Popoff writes about

    Mischa Popoff writes about the US organic industry and what he says about the fraudulent practices there seems credible because there are numerous other reports that claim much of what is passed off as organic in America is not really so. In India, on the other hand, we have more organic food produced in the country than is certified (see chart Are we losing the value of organic production? in the second story States opt for the green way ).

    Popoff also appears to be strongly biased against organic. Reacting to a recent paper published in Nature where researchers had used comprehensive meta-analysis to examine the relative yield performance of organic and conventional crops and shown that the yield differences are contextual, Popoff rubbishes the study and says that “I will continue to believe what I saw with my own eyes.” Really? How does anyone measure yields with eyes? And across the world?

    He claims that yields in organics are just half of what conventional farmers get but does not care to tell us how he arrived at this figure. The claim also makes it puzzling to explain why increasing numbers of farmers are turning organic in the US.

    As for organic food being elitist that’s true at the moment, Rajan. The transition to organic production is a costly process for the farmer and he needs to be recompensed. However, prices are high now is because of market economics: growing demand and limited supply. But let’s look ahead. What if the movement against chemical pesticides and fertilisers gains ground as in Andhra Pradesh and millions of farmers turn to organic farming?

    Posted by: Latha Jishnu | 4 years ago | Reply
  • Dear Latha: What I saw with

    Dear Latha:

    What I saw with my own eyes were the harvest records of honest organic farmers. That's what inspectors like me do.

    And from this first-hand experience I can report that organic yields are about half what conventional yields are, which is fine because organic farming is NOT about quantity, rather, it's about quality.

    Why do you say I'm strongly biased against organic? I support organics. Always have, always will. I grew up on an organic farm.

    What I'm dead-set opposed to is fraud and gross negligence, along with any phony marketing campaigns that mislead the public about ANY foods, including but certainly not limited to organic foods.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • Finally, a decent article

    Finally, a decent article chronicling the organic movement in India. The same trouble faced by small organic farmers here in California is true with small farmers in India- certification cost. Fortunately, with decades of persistence, the organic farmer in California is happier today. Farmers market penetration into urban landscapes was part of the huge shift. As more of them sold their produce directly to the consumers, they gained as the big box retailers gave then pennies on the dollar for their produce. Best wishes to all in the organic movement in India.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • Good article. In this

    Good article.

    In this context I would like to put some hard facts -- In my view point the two greatest criminals of India, Shri. C. Subramayam the then Central Agriculture Minister and Dr. M. S. Swaminathan the then chief of agriculture were responsible for the present day Indian farmersÔÇÖ miseries.

    They looked at short term increase in food production with hidden agenda of long term grains to Western MNCs as this technology was tailored to highly subsidize chemical inputs. Like a coin which has tail and head, any technology has both positive and negative aspects. In the adaptation of green revolution technology to India these two looked at positive side ÔÇô increasing the food production to meet the immediate needs ÔÇô but over looked at the long term consequences of this technology ÔÇô negative side ÔÇô on environment and humans.

    This technology destroyed the environment and human health beyond restoration. This technology destroyed bio-diversity and thus traditional agriculture, which was environment friendly and provide good and healthy food. The green revolution technology is non-environment friendly and bad and unhealthy food. Fortunately, AfricanÔÇÖs kept this technology away while Asians who sub-serve the West adapted this.

    The traditional agriculture technology was a soil and weather driven with animal husbandry forming a major component; while green revolution technology is irrigation and industry driven --chemical inputs & seed. The former benefits the farming community while the later benefits the business community. To improve the economy of farming community, we must reverse our agriculture system and adapt traditional agriculture system that in fact reduces drastically the wasteful expenditure running in to lakhs of crores each year by governments in terms of subsidy and loans that can be better utilized in the building up of rural infrastructure in terms of storage facilities, education, health care, roads/transport, food processing, etc.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • This four page writeup was

    This four page writeup was simply awesome. Can this be transalated in Tamil?

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • Your cover story "Organic

    Your cover story "Organic Boom" has surpassed my expectations with such wonderful articles. Your wonderful reportage does two things in one go: encourages us ...and helps us grow, organically.
    I would like to bring in some more examples of people who are working for organic. They are Sachin Desai, who is promoting organic agriculture and PGS with Nai Talim through his organization, Syamantak- School Without Walls.; Ms. Smita Shirodkar, a management professional whose father owns and runs the Murphy electronics producing company. She is promoting organics among the urban Mumbai dwellers.There are plenty of others doing their work happily and silently, like Dr. Sultan Ismail at New College, Chennai; Jayant Barve in Vita-Sangli; Dr. Bharatendu Prakash in Chhatarpur, Bundelkhand [M.P./U.P border], Vikram Rawat in Himachal Pradesh, Anita & Kalyan Paul in Ranikhet; Joy Daniel in Bidkin-Aurangabad; Mary & Bablu Ganguli in Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh; Dr PV Satheesh in Medak, Andhra Pradesh; Mathew John in Kotagiri-Nilgiris; Rony Joseph in Kottayam-Kerala; Dr N Devakumar at the University of Agricultural Science, Bengaluru and plenty of others.

    I would like to clarify that I am still a part of OFAI and member of the PGS Organic Council through the Botanical Society of Goa. However, I left the position of "Additional Director" at OFAI Central Secretariat and resigned as Secretary of PGS Organic Concil for the sake of the organizations. Thank you and may your tribe increase and populate the Earth, naturally.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • Dear Mischa, I am really

    Dear Mischa,

    I am really delighted to hear from you. I agree entirely with you that yields should not be the main criterion for measuring the success of organic agriculture – it is, indeed, about quality, not quantity. And yet, I would like to point out that several organic farmers’ groups across India have achieved yields that are comparable with conventional methods of farming which rely on a basket of chemical inputs and synthetic fertilizer. This is particularly true of rain-fed areas where farmers have customarily jettisoned chemical additives because a) they could not afford these and b) it was a waste of money since without irrigation no amount of pesticide and fertilizer inputs helped in situations where the soils are badly degraded. In times of severe weather stress, organic farmers have fared much better and we can provide examples of this. I have not come across any case of suicide by an organic farmer (we have a deplorably high rate of suicides by farmers in India).

    I am also delighted that you are a champion of organic farming and am sorry that I misconstrued what you said in response to the study of Verena Seufert, Navin Ramankutty and Jonathan Foley (published in Nature ) as being antagonistic to this method of cultivation. I wish that you could come to India to take the veil off the organized fraud in organic certification. It would certainly help the nascent organic movement here.

    Posted by: Latha Jishnu | 4 years ago | Reply
  • Great article Latha &

    Great article Latha & Jyotika, something like this was needed to understand the whole organic food picture of India.
    Hope this helps many more people who are part of the hidden organic world ( who sell their organic produce in local markets without any differentiation due to lack of access and logistical and other difficulties) to get access to markets and consumers.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • Organic Boom is an

    Organic Boom is an introspection on how Organic Agriculture works in India. India's premier institute ICAR has not done any research for promoting organic agriculture and its attitude too seems to be disgusting. The incident described in the story on how ICAR snubs organic is an irony as agriculture is not about technology only.
    The authors Latha and Jyotika have done a good job. It would be now more intresting to read on various Organic systems prevalent in different areas of the country which still have to tab market potential. Eg: in my state Meghalaya, largely agriculture is organic but the produce is sold normally in the market.
    I would request the authors to do bringin North East India also in picture as the region is still unexplored.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • Very informative article.

    Very informative article. However I have few questions which would help understand the organic opportunity and the growth potential in India as we stand today..
    What would be the total size of the domestic organic foods market in India?
    Also what would be the share of major players like Morarka(only foods), 24 Letter Mantra in the total pie? What is the distribution model followed by these companies for placement of their products at various retail chains. Does it follow the same model as FMCG companies with a chain of distributors, CNFs, dealers, retailers etc or is it much leaner?

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • There's no choice but for

    There's no choice but for Organic to grow... we can't just sit around an complain when we read another report on how many chemicals there are in our food or how adulterated our milk is. As consumers we need to raise the alarm and raise the demand for healthy and safe food. works in that direction ... making our readers aware about the what why and wherefore of organic food. Let's hope the organic community supports eachother to increase awareness and health!

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • Hello Latha Mam, I am a

    Hello Latha Mam,

    I am a student of International hospitality and tourism in London (U.K.). I am going through a research topic "The Sustainability of Organic Food in Luxury Hotels and Their Supply Chain Management Practices. (India)".
    Mam, Your research and content have helped me a lot to make and collect data for my research. Thanks a lot for you concern towards ecological and green environment for sustainability. Mam i have some questions in my mind for my research. can i have your precious time and email you for one or two question please.It will help me a lot in my research.

    Kind regard,
    sunny chari.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • Excellent article on Organic

    Excellent article on Organic Universe in general and Food in particular.
    A 2011 survey by the Organic Trade Association found that more than threequartersÔÇö78 percentÔÇöof U.S. families are buying organic food, up from 73 percent in 2009. Forty percent of families say they are buying more organic food now than they were a year ago.
    In 2010, the U.S. organic food and beverage industry grew at a rate of 7.7 percent, posting total sales of $26.7 billion. In comparison, growth in total U.S. food sales stagnated at 0.6 percent. Organic food accounted for four percent of the $673 billion food industry in 2010.
    Since 2000, the U.S. organic food industry has grown exponentially. In 2000, organic food sales totaled $6.1 billion and represented a mere 1.2 percent of total food sales. From 2000 to 2010, the organic food industry grew at an average rate of 16.5 percent per year, compared to 3.25 percent average annual growth in the overall food industry.Organic food sales in the U.S. comprise nearly half of global organic food sales.
    The global organic market reached $54.9 billion in 2009, more than triple the $18 billion recorded in 2000.In Turkey also interest on Organic Foods is on the increase:
    ÔÇ£After scandalous news articles about food, people now have more faith in organic products,ÔÇØ said Demirci, while S├╝merli -- who is also the chairman of the Istanbul-based Organic Product Producers and Industrialists Association -- maintained that the consumer identifies organic foods more and more with health. He quotes the consumers: ÔÇ£Yes, organic foods are a little expensive, but we think we do the right thing by spending on food some of the money which we would spend on health in later years.ÔÇØ What Uygun Aksoy, professor at Ege University ÔÇÿs faculty of agriculture, told SundayÔÇÖs Zaman in connection to this is quite revealing. ÔÇ£Should people have major concerns regarding food safety, then organic foods are perceived primarily as healthy foods,ÔÇØ she said, confirming that itÔÇÖs food safety that is at the top of the agenda in Turkey. But in countries such as Norway, Sweden and Denmark, where food safety is already of a high standard, most people buy organic products to help protect the environment. In big cities, the number of people shopping at organic markets, which are open once a week and where the prices of most vegetables and fruits are only about 20 percent higher than that of the conventional foods, has also increased. Leyla ├£nl├╝bay, project coordinator for ecological marketplaces at the ─░stanbul-based Bu─ƒday Association, told SundayÔÇÖs Zaman that the number of visitors has increased by 10 to 15 percent in recent months. Like many other people from the organic sector, she also believes this is an indicator of peopleÔÇÖs increasing awareness about the food they consume.
    PeopleÔÇÖs preference for organic foods is not without merit. In terms of nutrition, apart from being free of chemicals, organic foods have a clear edge over conventional products. Milk contains both omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids; however, while omega 3 is known to protect blood vessels, omega 6 has a blocking role. ÔÇ£In the milk of livestock which feed on grass out in the fields, omega 3 is the dominant element in the fatty acid balance, whereas the opposite is true for livestock kept in industrial farms. So, the fat you get from industrially produced milk has a negative quality to it,ÔÇØ Mustafa Kaymak├º─▒, another professor at Ege UniversityÔÇÖs faculty of agriculture, told SundayÔÇÖs Zaman.ÔÇØ(Interest in organic products considerably increases after scandalous food stories, TodayÔÇÖs Zaman, 13 May 2012 / AYDIN ALBAYRAK, ANKARA).
    Here is interesting facts on Organic Vs normal foods:
    Answer 1: Nope. A meta study published three years ago in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (July 29, 2009) and discussed in a previous Science 2.0 article arrived at the same conclusion

    Question 2: Which type of food is free of organic pesticide residue? Which has levels below permissible levels?

    Answer 2: According to the same Stanford group which examined 223 studies involving either pesticides or nutrients, 62% of conventionally grown food and 93% of organically grown fruits and vegetables had no pesticide residues. In almost all cases the levels of pesticides were below permissible levels.

    Question 3: Which meats, organic or conventional, are less likely to be contaminated by harmfulE. coli bacteria?

    Answer: Neither. The common culprits, regardless of farming methods, were chicken and pork.

    Question 4: For organic meat, is there less a possibility that it will be contaminated by at least 3 bacteria types that are resistant to antibiotics?

    Answer 4: Yes, 33% less likely, but there are probably no clinical consequences to this, according to the authors.

    Question 5: Did the authors find any long term studies of the health benefits of eating organic versus conventionally grown food?

    Answer 5: Nope! In the last fourteen years, organic food in the United States has grown from a $3.7 billion to a $24.4 billion business. But the growth has been based on a combination of misinformation (with regard to nutritional content) and a mixture of fear and possibly over cautionary principles (organic food, overall, does have less pesticide residue, but we don't know if the small amounts are actually harmful.),[ Another Meta Study on Organic Foods By Enrico Uva | September 3rd 2012,Science2.0 Join the Revolution].
    In India Organic Farming has long history. Here are some Examples:
    ORAGANIC AGRICULTURE, please visit this website. There are Two persons Mr. Save and Mr. Sanghavi are actively in same business for last 20-25 years, and from Gujarat (Umbergaon ÔÇônear navsari). They have made almost 7-8 farms after success in 1 farm. You can visit the site and find out more how they did that, they have mentioned everything. They have written one book also in gujarati and English for our farmers based on their experiences and techniques, I request you all to buy that and give it to your village relatives who are active in agriculture business.
    *I would like to quote one instance from the bookThey give the weed (Nindaman) from their farm to one dairyman who has some 20-25 cows & buffalos, this continue to almost 4-5 years and one day they changed their mind and refuse the dairyman to give weed from farm. Surprisingly that dairyman asked them to pay any buck for that weed as his cows and buffalos after eating that weeds for years never got ill and become 2-3 times more productive

    There are some known myths about organic farming,which are unfounded:1) Myth: Production will be less in organic farming:
    Actual: It is totally depend on which techniques you have used, and if production is less in first phase any reason, it will be definitely increased in next lot. We need to also change accordingly and implement the same with experienced person. Here one have to also look at the point that we are getting high quality, at less price; so donÔÇÖt hope for bumper production in first phase, later on it will be there for sure.
    2) Myth: Organic products are very costly in market
    Actual: Actually in organic farming the production cost is very much low compared to current ones, but some business minded people in the name of quality make it higher price. We can sell our products at much lower rates ( I have plans to do the same in future).
    3) Myth: It uses worms, I donÔÇÖt like that.
    Actual: There are many more optional methods available in organic farming, like cow dung, cow urine, cow ghee, need etc OR you can use save-sanghavi method.
    4) I donÔÇÖt know much about organic farming:
    Actual: You can contact near Krishi Kendra or best thing is to visit any of four available Krishi Universities in Gujarat. They will give you all the details. You can also search on internet, there are so many groups, websites, articles which will clear your doubts.
    5) There is no big market for Organic Products:
    Actual: There is much big market of organic products nationally and internationally, we need to explore little bit more. You can not only focus on organic farming but also on organic horticulture, organic herbal products, you can also use some by products. Main thing is that there is already market available and if it is not there we can create the market, people will surely come for organic as it not use any pesticide and chemical fertilizer.
    Now you will definitely ask, if it is so much useful, high yields, high returns.why it is not much popular? So to answer this question let us first make some points clear.
    Organic farming is our ancient method, there is no question of something totally new, we just forget the same. It is because of some vested interest of some MNC companies, chemical fertiliser companies and bureaucrats they donÔÇÖt want this thing to happen or known by everyone. There are number of examples where people got really benefited from organic farming.
    There is so much information available on internet regarding how organic farming alone can solve IndiaÔÇÖs food problem, also some technical docs which shows how to make panchjanyamrut which may replace pesticides and fertiliser. You wonÔÇÖt believe there is cow dung, cow urine trading going on the net.( Organic Agriculture in Detail-The right and ancient way of Agriculture , Himanshu Acharya,DEshGujarat, 7 December, 2009).
    In India traditionally natural pesticides were used by our Farmers in the past like neem oil,Tobacco,Tinospora Cardifoila Creeper. Also Annona Squamosa(Custard Apple) seed oil is toxic.
    There is the need to revive Organic Farming to reduce pollution and to retain natural fertility of the soil.
    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • Your Article on Organic

    Your Article on Organic Farming is well researched and highly informative and will undoubtedly benefit the people who are interested tn understanding the immense benefits of Organic farming and its produce and who are fed up with the fruits and vegetables grown out of poisonous chemicals and pesticides. The authors Latha and Jyotika have done a wonderful job. It would be now very fascinating to read on different Organic systems existing in different areas of the country which still have to tap market potential.
    I would request the authors to do more areas which are still unexplored. My area of interest in addition to gardening, is to spread knowledge on topics related to health.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • Sir, Good elaborate


    Good elaborate information on organic farming.

    Thanking you.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply