Organic farming in India is set to get a major boost with investments of over $150 million coming into the sector, Food Processing Industries Minister Subodh Kant Sahai has said.
"There is a plan to develop organic farming in India with investments going up to 100 million euros in 23 states with partial support from the government," Sahai said at the Indian pavilion at Biofach 2008, the event that highlights immense potential in the organic food sector, in Germany.
Sahai said his ministry was also seriously considering the proposal from the industry to set up organic food parks in the country along with streamlining the agro-infrastructure with modernised facilities like cold chains.
"The world can now take a close look at the new transformation sweeping Indian agriculture. The current global demand by the consumer to organic food has opened up new opportunities for trade and investments," Sahai said.
He asserted that India would be a leading source for organic products in the near future. "The demand for speciality food like organic products, nutraceuticals and convenience products is expected to multiply in line with changing life styles," he said.
As India has been implementing the national programme for organic production (NPOP) since 2001, the country has established a credible quality assurance system to meet the consumer expectations, he said.
"With the commitment shown by the Indian farmers and exporters, India was able to meet the EU, Swiss and the US requirements of product standards and certification," Sahai added.
NPOP aims at promoting organic agriculture, creating demand for organic products and improving environment conditions in the country.
The minister said India had framed domestic standards for organic products, largely based on the NPOP standards. "It was necessary in the light of growing domestic demand for organic products," he said.
Sahai added that the retail marketing was taking an organised shape in India, while imported foodstuff was swiftly and steadily foraying into the Indian market.
The countries wishing to export organic products to India will need to comply with the Indian regulations. The products need to be certified by the Indian accredited certification bodies.