As India looks aggressively to move towards real ‘Green Revolution’ through sustainable farming practices, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Karnataka have emerged as top organic farming states in the country.
Just when the chemical fertilizer based farming has shown that the Green Revolution of India that began in the 1960s was not green et al, the states are taking initiatives to steer the farming systems towards organic and natural ways of cultivation. Urea, pesticides, weedicides, nutrient based fertilizers and related chemicals unleashed pollution in soil, water and air for decades. The entry of hazardous farm chemicals in the food chain is costing lives and public health.
Now states in India are motivating their farmers to move away from fertilizers to delve into sustainable farming practices. Both the Central Government and state governments have rolled-out different schemes incentivizing organic farming through different ways. Centre has launched Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) that covers the entire country where farmers are provided financial assistance and organic inputs. Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati (BPKP),which is a part of PKVY, is promoting traditional indigenous practices among farmers. All other schemes like Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture have components that support organic farming in India.
Although, the Himalayan state of Sikkim has emerged as the first Indian state to have transformed its farming sector 100% into organic, but in terms of area under organic farming is very less compared to others. Let’s take a look into the top five states in terms of their acreage under organic farming in the country.
Madhya Pradesh: In terms of area, Madhya Pradesh is the second-largest state of India and has emerged as the champion of organic farming. The official data of the MP State Government says that the state accounts for about 40% of the country’s total area under organic farming which has been estimated at over 17.31 lakh hectares which is certified until the previous financial year. According to some estimates this could even be 26.57 lakh hectares as to actual organic farming done in the state. In fiscal 2021-22, the production of organic products was recorded at 14,02,000 metric tons. About 16, 38,000 hectares has been certified by APEDA . Madhya Pradesh exported over 5 lakh metric tonnes of organic products worth Rs 2,683 crore. The tribal districts like Mandla, Dindori, Betul, Jhabua, Alirajpur etc. are the key reasons for the adoption and success of organic agriculture practices. The tribal economy is a cow-based rural economy which is helping to accelerate the expansion of organic farming in the state in mission mode.
Maharashtra: According to figures revealed by Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Agriculture Minister, in the Parliament, Maharashtra is the second largest state in terms of organic farming acreage. The western Indian state has over 3,71,000 hectares registered as organic farming. The Maharashtra government came up with Organic Farming Policy in 2017 with the key objective of increasing the area under organic cultivation. The Agriculture Technology Management Company (ATMA), an agency of the state government, is aggressively training farmers for sustainable agriculture. Now the state government has announced that the scope of Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Organic Farming Mission will be enlarged and the state government will bring 1,000 bio-input source centres to promote organic farming. For this, the state government has allocated a budget of Rs 1000 crore. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra has announced that the state government will be increasing the area under organic farming to 25 lakhs hectares in the coming three years to ensure that the farming system in the state is turned sustainable. The government has also encouraged the establishment of organic farmers markets in various cities to provide a platform for organic farmers to directly sell their produce to consumers.
Rajasthan: The desert state – whose large area is uncultivable due to the presence of Thar Desert – had 3,00,000 hectares of land under cultivation by the end of Financial Year 2021. Its journey towards organic farming began with the initiative of the state government called ‘Kheti Mein Jaan Toh Sashakt Kisan’ whose objective has been to reduce input costs in farming. The state is also taking benefits of Central Government schemes. A mobile application – Raj Kisan Jaivik App has been started where the list of organic farm producers and users is made available. The farmers are being taught low-cost farming techniques, production techniques and the use of yatha jivamrit, beejamrit, ghanamrit, etc. at the local level.
Gujarat: The state comes fourth in the rank as the organic farming area under coverage stands around 1.5 lakh hectares. The government has come up with Gujarat Organic Policy and the Department of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture is implementing it in letter and spirit through various tools for greater adoption of chemical-less farming. The government has launched multiple promotional activities like Convention of Organic Farmers, Seed Festivals, Organic Food Festivals to support organic farming expansion directly. The tribal district of Dang is already declared a 100% organic farming district that avoids any use of chemical fertilizer or pesticide. The state government is offering multiple kinds of subsidies for the uptake of organic farm practices, certification for clusters, vermi-compost/organic input production and certification for good agricultural practices helping faster expansion of ecologically sustainable farming.
Karnataka: The southern state has more than 1 lakh hectares of agricultural land registered under organic farming and the state has already been famed as the millet capital of India and the coarse grain steps up the possibility of rapid organic farming expansion in the state. The Organic Farming policy of the state has been revised to ensure that at least 10% of its 121 lakh hectares of agricultural land. Under the Savayava Bhagya Yojane project, the state government has launched a Market Based Specific Crop Organic Cluster Development Programme. This intervention has focused on market based specific crops or commodities in order to provide the required bulk and continuous supply to meet the demand in the market. Karnataka has adopted Centre’s PKVY Scheme since 2015-16 in all the districts & Taluks of Karnataka in project areas of 50 acres (clusters) each. In addition, the state government has facilitated setting up of regional federations of organic farmers’ associations throughout Karnataka. Karnataka also has a strong focus on Zero-Budget Natural Farming and has special budgetary allocation for it.
India has 45 out of the 60 types of soils present on the planet when concerned with agriculture. There is a growing market to purchase food that is organically produced ensuring high profitability to producers. As per global data of 2021, India ranks 5th in terms of World’s Organic Agricultural land and tops in terms of total number of producers. According to FiBL survey of 2021, among 187 countries practicing organic agriculture, India contributes about 30% of total organic producers globally. According to the ministry of agriculture, more than 38 lakh hectares of agricultural land in the country has come under organic farming.