Mumbai: The state government has formed the Organic Certification Agency (OCA) to promote organic farming. The agency, with headquarters in Akola and regional offices in other cities, will give accreditation to help farmers sell organic products in and outside the country. The OCA will be headed by the agriculture secretary comprising members from organisations engaged in organic farming and heads of organic farming from agricultural universities.
In a government resolution issued on Friday, agriculture department under-secretary Umesh Chandiwade said the government is currently in the midst of promoting organic farming with the active involvement of various government and non-government organisations and agriculture universities to create awareness among various stakeholders.
Even though the area under organic farming is increasing in the state, farmers are unable to sell their products for want of certification. Chandiwade said farmers have to take certification from private agencies which is expensive.
The agriculture department said the Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, is implementing the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP). The programme involves the accreditation of certification bodies, standards for organic production, promotion of organic farming and marketing, etc.
The NPOP standards for production and accreditation system have been recognised by the European Commission and Switzerland for unprocessed plant products as equivalent to their country standards. With these recognitions, the Indian organic products duly certified by the accredited certification bodies of India are accepted by the importing countries. The APEDA is also in the process of negotiation with South Korea, Taiwan, Canada and Japan.