Introduction to organic farming in Haryana: Haryana is one of the best agricultural states in India. Haryana has an arid to semi-arid climate with an average rainfall of 455 mm. Organic farming is known as a method of farming where no synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are used. Organic farming emphasizes the use of inputs in a way that stimulates the biological processes of available nutrients and protects against pests, meaning that the “nature” resources are used to stimulate these processes which help to increase and maintain crop yields. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, organic farming is a comprehensive crop production system that avoids the use of synthetic and chemical inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, and growth regulators.
Organic farming systems depend primarily on crop rotation, crop residues, animal manure, beans, green manure, off-farm organic residues, mineral rocks, natural pesticides, and biological pest control so that land productivity capacity can be maintained and vital nutrients can be supplied. Moreover, organic farming is the path to an everlasting revolution. Organic farming in Haryana is a crop and livestock production technique that involves choosing not to use pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics, and growth hormones to grow crops. It is a comprehensive system that improves the productivity and well-being of diverse communities within the agro-ecosystem, which means with soil animals, plants, livestock, and people.
A guide to starting organic farming in Haryana, applying for organic certification, schemes, and organic crops grown in Haryana
Basic principles of organic farming
Organic farming avoids the use of synthetic fertilizers, as the principles of organic farming are based on the natural growth of plants through the construction of fertile soils. Farmers use clover and beans to ‘fix’ nitrogen, as well as fertilizer, animal manure, and green manure, and crop rotation to maintain healthy, nutritious soil.
Organic farming and processing are based on the below principles;
- To produce food of high-quality nutrients in sufficient quantity;
- Interacting constructively and in a life-enhancing way with all-natural systems and cycles;
- Encouraging and enhancing biological cycles within the farming system, including microorganisms, soil flora, and fauna, plants and animals;
- To maintain the long-term soil fertility;
- Promote the healthy use and proper care of water, water resources, and all living things in them;
- Use renewable resources in locally managed agricultural systems as far as possible;
- As far as possible, work on organic matter and nutrients within a closed system;
- Work with materials that can be reused or recycled, either on the farm or elsewhere.
- Reducing all forms of agricultural pollution;
- To preserve the genetic diversity of the agricultural system and its surroundings, including the protection of plant and wildlife habitats;
- Production of non-food products from renewable sources, which are completely biodegradable. Encourage organic farming associations to work with democratic principles and the principle of distribution of power;
- Moving towards a whole organic production chain, which is socially fair and environmentally responsible.
What is the importance of organic farming in Haryana?
In recent years, there has been a lot of focus on organic farming in Haryana. In search of more sustainable agriculture, producers, consumers, and policymakers seek to rediscover organic farming. The Haryana government believes that producers are concerned about organic products and therefore market growth should be stimulated. Currently, a large portion of the agricultural budget is allocated for research, education, and information dissemination to encourage organic farming.
According to the official website of the Haryana State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation (HAFED), an area of about 1000 acres has been allotted for organic farming of basmati rice in three districts of Kaithal, Kurukshetra, and Karnal. The desi wheat will be cultivated on an area of about 805 acres in the Mewat and Jhajjar areas. Sirsa district has been shortlisted for gram crop cultivation.
- The main purpose of organic farming is to develop enterprises that are sustainable and environmentally friendly.
- With the increase in population, there will be a need not only to stabilize agricultural production but also to increase it sustainably. Scientists have found that with more input usage, the “green revolution” has reached a plateau and is now sustained with declining returns.
- A natural balance needs to be maintained at all costs for the survival of life and property.
- Agro-chemicals are made from fossil fuels and are not renewable and availability is declining. It could also weigh heavily on our foreign exchange in the future.
Important farming practices for organic farming
Soil Health – Healthy soil is the foundation of the organic system and also the cornerstone of organic farming methods. Every handful of vibrant organic soil has billions of microorganisms. These invisible creatures support the health of plants and animals and are quiet heroes of every organic farm.
Organic soil management can include many techniques to support soil biology, increase fertility and increase organic matter. Some important methods include cover cropping, composting, crop rotation, and grazing management.
Green manure and cover crops – Green manure and core crops are grown mainly for reasons other than short-term economic benefits. In other words, they are not designed for sale, but for the benefits they provide to later cash crop production. Cover crops are called because they otherwise protect bare soil from erosion. Green manure improves soil fertility. Since a covering crop must be added to the soil, it becomes green manure, so conditions can be changed to a reasonable extent. Covering crops offer an easy, cost-effective way to use the power of plants to create soil fertility.
In case if you miss this: How To Prepare Soil In Agriculture.
Manuring and Composting – Manure and compost provide many nutrients for crop growth, including micronutrients, and also valuable organic matter sources.
Intercropping and Companion Planting – Intercropping is about growing two or more crops to promote beneficial interactions. The establishment of two or more species share cultural benefits like pest control or increased productivity is known as companion planting.
Mulching – Organic mulches can reduce the need for cultivation, prevent soil erosion and crusting, and replenish organic matter.
How about this: How To Start Coconut Gardening.
Pest management – Synthetic pesticides harm native species and bees while causing health problems ranging from hormonal disturbances to cancer. Therefore, organic farmers only manage crop pests and diseases in natural ways. The first defense is to grow strong crops from healthy soil, which makes the plants more flexible. In organic farming, farmers plant flowers to attract beneficial insects, which in turn feed on pest species. Safe sprays made from natural materials are also allowed.
Disease Management in Organic Farming – Plant diseases are a major barrier to crop yield and quality reduction in organic and low-yield systems. Proper management of crop fertility through a balanced supply of macro and micronutrients and adoption of crop rotation has improved crop resistance against certain diseases. Thus, one of the greatest rewards of organic farming is healthy soil that lives with beneficial organisms. These healthy microbes, fungi, and bacteria prevent harmful bacteria and fungi that cause disease.
Information and facts about organic farming in Haryana
- Under certified organic farming, Haryana has one of the lowest areas but is the fifth largest exporter of organic products in the country.
- About 5,303 hectares under certified organic farming
- Under certified organic farming, the state has 5,303 hectares of land, of which 4,903 hectares are under the National Programme for Organic Production and 400 hectares under the Partnership Guarantee System Certification.
- Organic farmers are unable to find consumers for their products, meaning the market forces does not acquire organic farming in Haryana. Furthermore, the markets for organic farm products in Haryana are not efficient.
- Similarly, some agricultural product sellers use organic labels as a marketing strategy and charge consumers higher prices. Lack of financial incentives to adopt or continue organic farming (e.g., organic conversion subsidies).
- Only 4,339 farmers engaged in growing organic grains, millets, basmati, medicinal plants, wheat, fodder, fruits and vegetables, oilseeds, processed foods, pulses, spices, condiments, sugar, Tea, and tuber products.
- The government is planning to set up a training center for organic farming in Gurukul, Kurukshetra to promote organic farming in Haryana. This will help farmers learn the benefits of organic farming and also increase their income.
- The state government had decided to bring 10% of the total cultivable area in the state under organic farming, which is being done in phases. At present, out of one crore acres of land in the state, the area under cultivation is 70 lakhs. Under organic farming, the government has planned to cover 7 lakh acres of land.
- Under organic farming in Panchkula, Rohtak, Gurgaon, and Sirsa districts, IT is proposed to bring 250 hectares of land. In these districts, some farmers have commercial-scale organic farming and need assistance with proper registration and certification with national/international agencies to counter the growing commercialization of organic farming. In Panchkula, Ambala, Yamunanagar, Rohtak, Gurgaon, Hisar, Fatehabad, and Sirsa, approximately 95 vermicompost units will be constructed.
Policy implications for organic farming in Haryana
The main policy implications are as follows;
- To increase the sustainability of agriculture in Haryana, the government should focus on crop diversification. More emphasis should be placed on the production and processing of value-added agricultural products. More attention needs to be paid to the development of infrastructure such as roads, irrigation facilities, farm electrification, marketing facilities.
- To encourage farmers to adopt organic farming methods, attention can be paid to the development of organic certification facilities, input subsidies, demonstration practices, and the value chain spectrum of organic produce.
- Haryana farmers can emphasize appropriate crop and farming models for diversification and nutrient cycling on farms, conservation, and use of organic/biological sources of nutrients, soil, and water resources. Favorable cultural practices and natural and/or biological methods of suppressing pests and diseases.
- In the absence of the requirements for the adoption of organic farming, there is an integrated system of alternative plant nutrition, which includes the combined use of organic and inorganic substances. This system can be used until the conditions are satisfactory for conversion to organic farming. Loss of income due to low yields in the early years of change, however, is a major obstacle, especially for poor farmers. Therefore, it is important to help farmers overcome obstacles during the exchange period.
- This cannot think of a complete elimination of chemicals, fertilizers to feed this population size as it will reduce the production of food crops. And, rationally use these chemicals to produce quality and healthy food. Feed the population in many ways such as good food, water, and protection of the environment from pollution caused by these chemicals. So, move towards environmentally-friendly farming so that there are no harmful residues of chemicals in the food.
- There is ample scope for encouraging livestock activities in Haryana to increase the income of farmers.
- To popularize organic farming in Haryana, the extension agencies need to make sincere efforts to encourage farmers to adopt better production techniques to reduce the production gap. District level Farm Science Centers like Krishi Vigyan Kendra should identify the problems of the farmers and provide timely feedback and solution to the problems to the farmers. Manures and bio-fertilizers and other inputs should be made available at the village level through societies and other distribution centers and this should ensure the supply of quality inputs to farmers to increase their productivity. Government officials and other networks should be set up in every village to produce organic products from farmers. In addition, the government should announce separate minimum support prices for organic products.
How to get organic certification in Haryana
HAFED i.e., Haryana State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation Limited
Organic Growers Group has been awarded Scope Certificate and IC-2 Level Organic Certificate to 204 farmers covering an area of 400 acres under Basmati Paddy Crop in Kurukshetra, Kaithal, and Karnal Districts.
The certificate was issued by the Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) after auditing the soil quality of organic farmers’ farms. HAFED said that this would strengthen the concept of organic farming among the farmers of the state as the Union Budget has talked about promoting organic farming for the sustainable development of agriculture.
HAFED is promoting organic farming on 2500 acres for the welfare of farmers. Certification costs and consulting services are borne by HAFED. Farmers are getting good prices from the sale of organic produce. They are likely to get a higher price for their crops grown on this organic soil.
HAFED launched its Organic Farming Scheme in 2007 to register farmers who are ready to promote the concept. This concept is new and needs strict adherence to certification. On 2,500 acres of land in 6 districts of Haryana, it is providing hands-on support for organic farming.
A 750-acre group focusing on basmati paddy is being formed in Kaithal, Karnal, and Kurukshetra districts. Another group of farmers with 750 acres of land and focusing on indigenous wheat is in Jhajjar and Mewat and 1,000 acres with a focus on pulses is in district Sirsa. Under these projects, HAFED is providing free consulting services and organic certification to farmers. The cost is being borne by HAFED, which is about Rs. 10,000 per hectare. Due to the large dropout by farmers in the early stages, HAFED had to spend more on this account. Grover Group Organic Certification is a process that meets strict requirements. Under Section 5 of the National Program for Organic Production (NPOP), all members of a group are bound to one group. There are two internal audits and one external audit each year. External inspections are carried out by an APEDA-approved organic certification agency that meets the standards of the National Organic Production Program (NPOP). Complete certification is a three-step process – C1, C2, and C3 / Organic, which is managed by keeping and updating records on APEDA’s “Tracenet” software. The crop produced by such scientific methods of organic certification is 100% organic, nutritious and safe for human consumption, and has a very high market value.
Another advantage of organic methods is that in addition to good quality crops, field residues are converted into useful ‘assets’ through composting and herbal preparations to replace/substitute chemical inputs prohibited under organic farming. Farmers coming under the organic program will be able to get better prices for their produce on this certified organic land.
Organic certification agencies in Haryana
The Government of Haryana has approved the setting up of the state’s first Organic Certification Agency at Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCSHAU).
What is Organic Certification?
It is the certification process for manufacturers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. Requirements vary from country to country and typically include a set of production standards for growth, storage, processing, packaging, and shipping, including;
1. Avoid synthetic chemical inputs.
2. Avoid genetically modified seeds.
3. Use farming that has been free of banned chemicals for many years (often, three or more).
4. To comply with specific requirements for livestock, food, shelter, and breeding.
5. Detailed written statements and sales records (audit trail).
6. Maintain physical separation of some organic products from uncertified products.
7. Undergoing periodic on-site inspections.
Schemes for organic farming in Haryana
Subsidy for purchasing high/improved/hybrid seeds and purchase of implements
Through Haryana Seed Development Corporation, introduce improved seeds and produce hybrid seeds, to help farmers by subsidizing certified seeds. Funds of Rs. 112.50 lakhs have been provided for the purchase of specific gravity separators and other machinery/equipment. The purpose of this scheme is to encourage organic agricultural production in consultation with the Department of Agriculture and H.S.D.C. Therefore, HSAMB has provided a budget of about Rs. 1.00 crore to assist Haryana Seed Development Corporation.
The government is also promoting organic farming by adopting an organic village and forming a 50-acre cluster and arranging certification under the ” Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana”. To burn and better manage crop residues, the government has proposed an action plan for straw management equipment, training, and demonstrations. The government’s “horticulture vision” is to double the area under horticulture in the state and triple horticulture production by 2030. It is envisaged to bring 15% of the total cultivated area under horticulture, which is more than the current 7.5%.
Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana – Under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), it is a subsidiary of the Soil Health Management (SHM) scheme aimed at promoting sustainable models of organic farming systems through a combination of traditional wisdom and modern science. Develops to ensure longevity. Helps to build soil fertility, conserve resources and adapt to and mitigate climate change. Its main purpose is to increase soil fertility and thus the use of agrochemicals. Helps to produce healthy food through organic methods.
With the help of PKVY, the government’s goal is to support and promote;
- Organic farming
- Reduce dependence on fertilizers and agrochemicals,
- Improve yields and improve soil health,
- The organic food produced in this way will be linked to modern marketing tools and local markets.
- Through a cluster approach and participatory guarantee system of certification, adopting the improved PKVY organic village.
The government has set up the first Horticulture University in Karnal with three regional research stations and envisioned further international collaborations with global institutions and universities.
Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) – This is a state plan scheme, funded 100% by a central government grant. It will give the state a high level of flexibility and focus primarily on agriculture and allied sectors. This is an incentive scheme, so allocations are not automatic. It aims to achieve 4% annual growth in the agricultural sector. RKVY focuses on food storage and water conservation. It also covers crop areas, including horticulture.
National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) – It is mainly implemented for organic farming development. Acknowledging the certification program of certification bodies for obtaining certification.
Objectives of NPOP are;
a) To provide an evaluation of the certification program for organic products that include wild crops, aquaculture, and livestock products under the approved standards.
b) Recognition of certification programs of certification bodies under NPOP.
C) Facilitate certification of organic products under NSOP.
d) Facilitate the certification of organic products under the Equality Agreement between the two countries or by the requirements of the importing country under the organic standards of the importing countries.
e) Encouraging the development of organic farming and organic processing.
Limitations and implications of organic farming
There are some limitations to organic farming such as;
- Organic manure is not available in abundance and based on plant nutrition it can be more expensive than chemical fertilizers if organic fertilizer is purchased.
- In organic farming, yields are low, especially in the first few years, so the farmer should be paid a premium price for organic produce.
- The guidelines for organic production, processing, transportation, and certification are beyond the comprehension of the average Indian farmer.
- Organic products are also not marketed properly. There are many farms in India that have either never been chemically managed/cultivated or have turned to organic farming because of farmers’ beliefs or purely because of economics. These thousands of farmers, who cultivate millions of acres, have not been classified as organic, even though they are. Their products are either sold at the same price as those traditionally grown in the open market or are sold purely in goodwill and confidence through organically selected stores and regular specialty markets. These farmers can never opt for certification as it involves cost as well as extensive documentation required by the certifiers.
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