With a lot of farmers having very low yields because of the effect of pesticides on the soil, organic farming could be a way out for them, say experts. N Balasubramanian, CEO of Sresta Natural Bioproducts, explains the challenges and the solutions offered by them to farmers who are ready for organic farming. “In India, it is difficult to change any practice, so educating our farmers becomes our first step. Next, we give them a premium amount, which is around 10-20 per cent (depending on the crop), that helps him to manage his living during the low yield period,” he said.
When an agency like Sresta offers a backup system, it also takes care of one other hurdle for an organic farmer — the organic certification. It bears the certification cost and aids the farmers to link to the market by marketing those products in company’s name.There are also retailers who directly get the products from farmers, in which case the certification is spared. That kind of business is purely ‘trust’ based, say retailers. The costs of such products are much lower than the ones through agencies. But can all these be considered an ideal solution? There clearly needs to be a system that regulates the price and makes it available for a larger consumer chain. “That is possible by the government,” say organic farming experts and retailers.
According to them, in order to regularise this and reach both the middle and lower middle class, only the government’s involvement can help form a proper legislation for organic farming. “Unless there is some interference from the government to incentivise organic farmers, the product price will definitely remain high,” said Ananthoo. He also suggested that the government can introduce organic products through Public Distribution System (PDS) and Noon Meal Schemes to reach all strata of people. This will eventually reduce the price of the products and encourage more farmers to take up organic farming, thus welcoming sustainable agriculture in the country.