Law proposed to give legal backing to organic farming in Uttarakhand
The Uttarakhand government will soon bring in a law to give organic farming a legal backing so that organic produce that is in great demand in domestic and foreign markets fetches local farmers high returns, an official said.Updated: May 27, 2018 21:38 IST
The Uttarakhand government will soon bring in a law to give organic farming a legal backing so that organic produce that is in great demand in domestic and foreign markets fetches local farmers high returns, an official said.
In that connection, the Organic Agriculture Bill has been drafted.
“We have submitted the draft bill formulated on the basis of the experts’ opinions to the government. It is being analysed and is likely to be tabled in the assembly soon for approval,” said Vinay Kumar, managing director, Uttarakhand Organic Commodity Board.
“Once enacted, the proposed organic agriculture law will provide a legal backing to organic farming ensuring local farmers high returns for their organic produce which is in great demand both in domestic and foreign markets,” he said.
“High returns for their organic fruit and agricultural crops will also help address the issue of forced migration from the hills.”
Under the proposed law, the locally produced organic crops will be known as ‘Organic Uttarakhand’.
“This branding of the organic agricultural and horticultural crops produced in the central Himalayan region will give them a distinct identity, which will help ensure its smooth marketing even in foreign markets,” Kumar said.
Legal backing the proposed law will give to organic farming, he said, will be its “biggest” advantage.
“That means all transactions and activities pertaining to the organic agriculture, which are currently being carried out in an unorganised manner will acquire the shape of an organised sector,” he said.
That “also means all agencies that purchase organic agricultural or horticultural crops from the local farmers before marketing them will have to duly register” with the state government.
“The system will leave no scope for (fake) agencies to enter the local market,” Kumar said.
Such agencies, he said, sell locally grown organic food in the name of this state without procuring it from here, which harms its reputation as Brand Uttarakhand.
“Under the proposed law, the antecedents of all agencies that will apply for marketing the locally grown organic food will be properly checked before they will be registered with the government,” Kumar said.
The system will “also be beneficial for registered agencies as they will be entitled to all benefits and facilities that the government might announce time-to-time in future”, he said.
Describing the proposed law as pro farmer, he said it “also specifies a committee (comprising chief agricultural officers)” to be set up.
“It (panel) will not only keep a watch on agencies that purchase organic crops but will also ensure a proper implementation of the proposed law,” Kumar said, adding the panel will also ensure that farmers growing organic crops are not exploited by agencies.
The provisions “stipulated in the proposed law will be made so simplified for farmers” that they would have no difficulty in obtaining certification for their organic crops.
“In fact, they will be able to obtain such certificates even from the officers concerned at the block level,” he said.
The official said the proposed law also “stipulates that officials will ensure that handsome prices for organic crops are mutually fixed by agencies and farmers at the time of harvesting itself”.
“Farmers will also be provided grading, sorting and packing facilities so that they get better prices for their organic crops from agencies,” Kumar said.
“Organic food being free of harmful chemicals is in such a great demand worldwide that local farmers will get hefty prices for their organic crops without increasing their production.”