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Organic India: A Look at Organic Food in India

organic food in india

The Relationship of Culture and Foods of India

Organic India is a growing organic food producer. Agriculture in India is increasing its focus on the benefits of organic foods and aligning organics with the culture and foods of India.

Over the past decade, agriculture in India has rapidly increased the production of organic food to meet demand.

Globally, an awareness of the health benefits of organically produced food, and knowledge of the damage done to the environment by conventional, intensive farming methods, has created strong demand for organic produce.

In 2005, $26 billion was spent around the world on organic foods and that figure has been rising ever since. In 2010, $60 billion globally was spent on organic food products.

By the year 2020, it is estimated that the organic food market will be at least a $102 billion industry.

The production of organic food in India seems set to benefit from this explosion of demand.

Benefits of Organic Food: Agriculture in India

The large amount of farm land available has created a substantial market for organic exports. The country has more than 77,000 hectares dedicated to certified organic farming in India and up to 70% of the 120,000 tons of organic products grown there are exported each year. Additionally, with a large population base in India, farm workers are not in short supply.

Domestic consumption is on the increase: Culture and Foods of India

In 2005, only 1% of the Indian population actually consumed the organic food produced in their own country, primarily because the products were too expensive for the average person, costing as much as 30% more than the same non-organic food.

High prices were mainly due to the process of becoming a certified organic farm. This can be very costly as years must pass for intensively farmed land to convert to organic. The fact that more human labour is required in order to provide soil with the care of cultivation it needs to produce quality organic produce, also played a part.

Of course, the fact that the rest of the world is willing to pay these high prices for the benefits of organically grown merchandise also plays a role in setting the average price paid by Indian consumers - the price charged by mainstream, commercial outlets that is.

However, as organic farming in India has expanded and become established, the costs have been coming down and many more Indian people are now, thankfully, able to afford them.

Be inspired by this movie of Organic India members visiting an organic farm!

Organic India: The Growth of Organic Farming in India

If you played the inspirational video above, you will have become aware of the company, Organic India. In the mid to late 1990’s, it was the founders of this company that introduced organic farming methods to a small group of Indian farmers.

These farmers, along with many others, had been watching the health of their land decline through the use of toxic, synthetic chemical pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides and fungicides. The wildlife adjacent to their farms was also suffering as natural habitats were destroyed by conventional, industrial farming techniques for obtaining more crops, more quickly.

As a result of these first steps taken by Organic India and the farmers with whom it worked, organic farming took off in India. Revenue generated by exports are bringing a better quality of life to organic farmers, their workers and families. Farming organically is bringing fantastic benefits in health to the environment and to those who consume the foods it produces.

Now, there are at least 15,000 certified organic farms in India and that number is growing rapidly. There are just as many small farmers using the same organic practices to grow their foods.

As the domestic demand for organic food in India continues to grow , more stores and markets are carrying both certified and uncertified foods that claim to be organic. While organic exports must be certified, there are no laws in effect as of yet to control natural foods sold domestically.

A lack of knowledge among the general population and the absence of an organized system to regulate the sale of organic products create a great deal of confusion regarding the difference between natural and organic foods sold within India.

However, organic markets are becoming increasingly common throughout the country and this helps community members find foods that are truly organic, being produced at the many known and trusted small local farms that do not seek certification for whatever reason.

Organic Foods of India:

The first organic food store in India opened in 1997, before the heightened interest in domestically grown organics. Greenway still supplies the residents of Mumbai with affordable organic products from about 20 local farms that use chemical free, organic cultivation.

Conscious Foods was started two years later, also supplied by small local farmers, and today there are organic grocers, organic markets, and even organic restaurants in every major city in India.

The market for organic food in India has seen tremendous growth over the past decade. India is quickly becoming an organic centre for all types of crops and is making terrific progress towards supplying their own residents with the high quality and healthy benefits of organic foods.

How about growing your own organic produce? Our organic vegetable gardening guide shows you how to do so. You don't need a big garden and you don't even need soil. With just a few feet of land you can grow an abundance of quality organic vegetables. Click on organic vegetable gardening to learn how.

Read More:

Visit Fairtrade Food to understand more about fair trade's relationship to organic foods.

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Natural Soil Aeration

Soil with a good population of worms in it is a healthy soil. If your existing soil has plenty of worms then you just need to keep them happy while your vegetables grow.

Worms in your soil keep it aerated and maintain a functioning drainage system. Worms are, in effect, tilling your soil.

Worms do not destroy the soil structure or pollute the environment with petrol fumes and residues (as heavy machinery do).

By creating space with their burrowing, worms allow air to circulate, water to drain, and roots to grow.

More on Worms: What do Worms Eat?

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