The one day Seminar on “Organic Food: Indian Standards & Policy” was organized by the All India Food Processors’ Association at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The theme of the seminar was “Organic Food – Need of the hour”. This event was held in contrast to promote organic food for better health and good environment. The entire event was divided into 2 sessions, namely the inaugural session and the technical session.
The inaugural session began with the welcome address which was delivered by Amit Dhanuka, President at All India Food Processors’ Association. While welcoming and acknowledging the distinguished guests on the occasion, Amit Dhanuka conveyed that every year AIFPA organizes seminar on subjects related to the food and food processing during AAHAR. He added a note of appreciation for APEDA for their valuable support. The technical session penetrated into topics such As National Programme for Organic Production, Record Management and Internal Programme System through IT, Organic Nutritional Fertilizers, Organic Certification – Steps & Instructions, Overview of Organic Certification, and finally, the Requirement for Export of Organic Food from India.
While inaugurating the National Seminar on “Organic Food: Indian Standard and Policy”, the Secretary of APEDA, Santosh Sarangi, mentioned that APEDA’s responsibility and role in export promotion of agricultural products from the nation is significant in terms of industry development relating to scheduled products for international trade by way of financial assistance. His words marked the key ingredients deployed for the development to be the registration of persons as exporters of the scheduled products, training in various aspects of the industries connected with scheduled products, and improving of packaging of the scheduled products, along with financial aid.
India has been bestowed with immense potential in terms of production of all varieties of organic products due to the presence of various agro climatic regions. Data suggest India to be ranked 10th amongst the top ten nations in terms of cultivable land under organic certification. Santosh Sarangi quoted,
The total area under organic certification is 5.21 million hectare as calculated between the year 2012-13.
At the seminar, he disclosed that the Government of India has implemented the NPOP [National Programme for Organic Production which involves the accreditation for standards for organic production, certification bodies, and promotion of organic farming. The norms depicted by NOPO have been recognized by Switzerland and the European Commission as at par to their country standards. NPOP has also been accredited and recognized by the USDA.
As per statistics he said that India has produced about 13.4 million MT of certified organic products which includes all varieties of food products namely, sugarcane, rice, tea, coffee, fruits, cotton, basmati, pulses, spices, oilseeds, and other value added products. The state which covered the largest area under organic certification is Madhya Pradesh, followed by the state of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The calculated range of products exported from India is 135 with a total volume of about 1,65,262 MT including a 4,985 MT worth of organic textiles.
He applauded certain states for their steady contribution to the promotion of organic farming, particularly Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
The seminar was a congress of processors, service and technology providers, eminent scientists, quality certification agencies, entrepreneurs, decision makes and government officials. The valuable depiction of commitment towards healthy eating for healthier life became the unmitigated essence of the occasion. It is highly significant to consider organic foods as a way out of unhealthy eating due to the presence of fewer pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. Organic food production has always been one of the most heavily unregulated industries distinct from self-regulated cultivation. Hence, there is a strong doubt in the mind of potential buyers regarding the genuineness of the organic food. Thus, the need for regulations, policy, and certification arises.
Apart from addressing the need and benefits of organic foods in today’s world, where unhealthy eating has become a norm, the seminar attempted to implant awareness about organic food in life, economy, and thus, the role it may play in the nation’s holistic development and upbringing.