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Satavic Farms

The official position

As per Govt. of India figures of 2013-14, 11.8 million acres of land in India is under organic certification, though this is largely for forest collections. Around 1.8 million acres is cultivable land is under organic certification.

The total production of organic products in India as per the same reference was 1.24 million tons annually, largely  comprised of certified forest collections. Approximately 15% of the production is exported.

Another side to the story

There are a number of farms in India which have either never been chemically-managed / cultivated or have converted back to organic farming because of their farmers’ beliefs or purely for reason of economics. These thousands of farmers cultivating hundreds of thousands of acres of land are not classified as organic though they are. Their produce either sells in the open market along with conventionally grown produce at the same price or sells purely on goodwill and trust as organic through select outlets and regular specialist bazaars. These farmers will never opt for certification because of the costs involved as well as the extensive documentation that is required by certifiers.

New potential areas

About 65% of India’s cropped area is not irrigated and it can be safely assumed that high-input demanding crops are not grown on these lands. Fertiliser use on drylands is always less anyway as chemical fertilisers require sufficient water to respond. Pesticide use in these lands would also be less as the economics of these hardy or “not-so profitable” crops will not permit expensive inputs. These areas are at least “relatively organic” or perhaps even “organic by default”. While neither of these terms necessarily denotes a healthy farm or a recommended agriculture system, it would at least imply a non-chemical farm that can be converted very easily to an organic one providing excellent yields and without the necessity and effort of a lengthy conversion period.