BANGALORE: Organic farming certification is still considered to be a costly affair for farmers across the state. A farmer has to spend upto Rs 1 lakh for certification and inspections for a period of three years, depending on the certifying agency.
“The stringent procedure for the certification process and the time involved in addition to the huge cost involved for certification is a discouraging aspect,” said Narasimha Reddy, a farmer from Gauribidanur in Kolar district. “Though the government is doing enough, unless the certification cost is brought down or subsidised, many farmers might not come under the belt of organic farming,” he stated.
In India, currently there are around 22 accredited inspection and certification agencies which follow a rigorous process, to bring farms up to code with organic standards. These are dictated by National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF) under Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
Though there is no direct subsidy given for certification, the government encourages group certification through farmers cooperatives, the government officials argue.
“In Karnataka, there are close to 150 clusters with 50 farmers each operating with a group certificate programme. A group of farmers can form a society and apply for certification, so that they can share the cost,” said K Dorai Raj, chief operating officer, Apof Organic Certification Agency (AOCA).
AOCA provides certification service to farmers at a cost of Rs 60,000 for a period of three years.
“Unlike in individual certification, there needs to be a strong internal control system and peer checks in the group certification process. Also, the certification done by a foreign agency will cost more compared to an Indian certifying agency, as they would mainly follow export procedures,” Additional Director and President of Jaivik Krishik Society Dr K Ramakrishnappa said.