Introduction to how to start organic farming in Karnataka, schemes, crops, and certification: For developing countries like India, agricultural development strategies need to be developed to increase the productivity of arable land, in which the use of low-cost, high-performance inputs does little or no harm to both humans and the environment. A new strategy to promote eco-friendly farming is to encourage the use of organic matter/inputs by modifying the existing farming system in the area of soil nutrient restoration, called organic farming.
Karnataka was one of the first states in the country to establish a government policy for organic farming. The Government of Karnataka has been on the path of development and completion of organic farming through the Organic Farming Policy. In terms of organic certified area, Karnataka ranks 5th in India and 3rd in terms of area under cultivation.
A guide on how to start organic farming in Karnataka, crops, schemes, and organic certification
Organic farming is becoming increasingly popular because products made with organic methods are healthier and safer, with higher premiums than products produced under unhealthy farming. It emphasizes that the use of administrative methods is preferably the use of off-form input, given that regional conditions require locally adapted systems. This is done using agricultural, biological, and mechanical methods, where possible, as opposed to the use of synthetic materials to accomplish a particular task within the system. Because organic farming focuses on soil health, human health, and environmental health and is environmentally friendly, sustainable crop production and crop production seem to be an option. Therefore, in recent years, organic farming has been gaining the attention of the Government of India.
Organic farmers in Karnataka
Organic agriculture has always been a natural advantage and strength of India. Changes in global consumption patterns, consumer health awareness, and the growing importance of sustainability are now leading organic products locally, nationally, and internationally. Farmers in Karnataka felt the need to fight against high-yielding varieties and green revolution fertilizer pesticide package. Eventually, they realized that the need for organic farming was the only solution to the problem and to return to traditional sustainable farming without compromising the ecosystem. Organic farming improves the agro-ecosystem, also improves the biological cycles and soil biological activities aimed at more production and profit.
In Karnataka, there are more than 12,000 farmer’s practice 100% organic farming practices. About 1.1 million farmers practice at least 50% organic farming.
Selecting a site for organic farming
The location of your venture plays an important role in the success of any venture. The area of organic farming in India usually decides how to try. The selected sites for organic farming should be close to clean water sources, water is the most important asset for crop growth and health. If your water source is far away, it is difficult to deal with irrigation measures. It can be a monotonous thought but on the other hand, it is necessary to work effectively on your farm. Similarly, this helps spare costs while shipping materials to the farm.
The total area under organic cultivation in Karnataka
1. Total area under organic certification in Karnataka (including conversion) is 93,963 hectares
2. Total Certified Production (tons) 2,82,633
3. The total area under wild crop collection is 39,683 hectares
4. Number of certified operators 246
5. Total No. of Farmers 96,612
6. Number of Organic Farming Research Institutes 08
7. Number of model private farms 109
8. Number of NGOs involved in the promotion of organic farming 129
9. Number of marketers 19
10. Number of private shops/retailers/shops 513
11. Number of mega stores with organic shelves 48
12. Number of special organic restaurants/caterers in Bangalore 20
13. Number of operators/processors and exporters 124
Main objectives of organic farming in Karnataka
The Karnataka government has formulated an integrated policy to promote organic farming in the state. The main objectives of this organic farming policy are;
- Reduce the debt burden of farmers
- Increasing soil productivity
- Reduce cultivation costs by reducing reliance on external inputs and local use of natural resources
- Correct use of water
- Improve farm income through quality production.
Soil management for organic farming in Karnataka
The state of Karnataka has a wide range of geological, climatic, and vegetation characteristics which have greatly influenced the formation of soils and thus have given rise to different types of soils. Accordingly, different soils have different morphological and physicochemical properties that greatly affect plant growth and largely determine the crop patterns of the region. It is the rich heritage of the state that a variety of crops are grown and hence almost represents the situation in India. The soils are broadly classified as black, red laterite, and coastal alluvial.
Status of organic farming in Karnataka
The state of Karnataka has been blessed with a variety of soils spread across different climatic and agro-climatic zones. Physical features of Karnataka include coastal plains, Western Ghats, and plateaus which enable it to grow a different variety of crops. The state is also known for its horticultural crops and animal husbandry. In addition, many farmers in the state are pioneers in organic farming and have developed many different farming systems through the local knowledge base. They have developed their methods of using organic waste and have developed aggregate pest control agents to control pests and diseases.
Important points about organic farming in Karnataka
- Karnataka government is the first state to have an organic policy in 2004. The area under organic cultivation registered a steady growth from 2500 hectares of land to 100,000 hectares under fully certified organic cultivation.
- India exports a total of Rs 3,270 crore or 3.09 lakh tonnes of organic produce to various countries and the top item is soybean.
- Karnataka wants to increase its export share. The state already has a separate body, the Karnataka State Agricultural Production and Export Council (KAPPEC), which co-organizes the national trade fair, acting as its nodal agri-export agency.
- Organic farmers’ associations formed under promotional programs in the state are classified into 15 regional organic federations through which organic and millet processing and marketing activities are being carried out.
- The organic agriculture sector is gaining momentum in the state, with double-digit growth in its markets year on year, while millet has emerged as a new food grain.
- Karnataka plays a major role in sustainable organic farming – The state of Karnataka in South India is actively promoting sustainable organic farming, raising awareness and market access for traditional superfoods that are local in the region.
- Up-scaling of organic farming technologies – Farmers participating in farmer demonstrations in various districts of North Karnataka were demonstrated to enhance the organic farming technology developed at the research center. Five blocks representing different farming conditions with an area of 50 hectares were set up to demonstrate the methods of organic farming. These are model sites for further transfer of technologies on organic farming. Farmers were trained and encouraged to engage in organic farming in these blocks. In all these places, farmers have set up vermicomposting production units, compost production units, bio-digester units, and liquid fertilizer production units, etc., for efficient recycling of nutrients on the farm through crop residues.
- One village in each taluka was selected to introduce organic farming under the Karnataka Government’s Organic Farming Mission. Although organic farming of high-value crops such as spices and planting crops have been successful because they are mainly exported, examples of field crops such as cereals and pulses which constitute a major part of agricultural production in India and mainly on meeting the needs of domestic markets, the successes were very few. Bidar district of Karnataka is famous for cultivating pulses like Red Gram and Bengal Gram. In Bidar District, four out of five Talukas (i.e., Bidar, Aurad, Bhalki, and Hamnabad) have one organic village each.
Crops are grown under organic farming in Karnataka
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Some vegetables like French Beans, Tomatoes, Peas, Radishes, Eggplants, Peppers, and green leafy vegetables have been growing organically. The state is divided into 10 Agro Climatic Zones and consists of six major types of soils. The state of Karnataka has been blessed with different climatic and soil types spread across ten agro-climatic zones. Due to the characteristics of this diverse agricultural climate, almost all grains, pulses, oilseeds, and commercial crops (fruits, vegetables, planting crops, and spices, etc.) are grown in different parts of the state. The state is one of the largest producers of different types of horticultural crops.
- Fruits like Sapota, Grapes, Pomegranate, Watermelon, Mango, Jackfruit, Papaya, Orange, Banana, and Guava, etc., are successfully grown organically.
- Some vegetables like Onion (Including Bengaluru Rose Onion), Potatoes, Gherkins, Capsicum, Green Chilli, Tomato, Cucumber, Carrot, and Beans, etc., are cultivated under organic farming.
- Plantation and spice crops such as Coffee, Arecanut, Tamarind, Coconut, Vanilla, Black Pepper, Cloves, Cardamom, Dry Chilli, Turmeric, Cashewnut, Ginger, and Garlic, etc., are cultivated under organic farming.
- Flower crops cultivated under organic farming are Rose, Jasmine, Gerbera, Carnation, Anthurium, Orchids, Lillies, Chrysanthemum, Tuberose, Crossandra, Aster, and Marigold, etc.
The present movement in Karnataka is not because farmers predict a particular market for organic produce, but for production-based reasons, reducing the use of external inputs, improving soil fertility, soil In addition to reducing mitigation, controlling biological pests, and protecting the mother earth to improve its economy, it is worth noting that organic farming involves farmers’ associations and NGOs promoting it. Awareness of the affluent classes and civil society on the use of organic foods is also on the rise in the state. Above all, the Indian domestic market is huge; there are ample opportunities for marketing organic products in the country.
Important crops are grown under organic farming
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|Cereals and millets
|Non-Basmati Paddy, Maize, Bajra, and Ragi
|Mango, Pineapple, Banana
|Spices and condiments
|Arecanut, Cloves, Ginger, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Nutmeg, Parsley, Bay Leaves
|Green Gram, Bengal Gram, Black Gram, Horse Gram, Pigeon Pea
|Sesame, Ground Nut, Soyabean
|Medicinal & Aromatic Plants
|Amla, Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Tulsi, Citronella, Gymnena, Lemon Grass, Moringa, Palmarosa
Nutrients and Biofertilizers for organic farming in Karnataka
Nutrient use of an organic formulation for crop growth – Using Panchagavya during the flowering stage in the case of peas and tomatoes, was found to be effective in controlling the flower drop.
Panchagavya is made of 5 kg cow dung, 10 liters of cow urine, 1-liter yogurt, 1-liter milk; 1 kg ghee is kept for 15 days while mixed formula in the ratio of 1:10 is sprayed.
Use of bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides – For soil enrichment, it uses bio-fertilizers (phosphate solubilizing bacteria (PSB), Azospirillum, and Azotobacter) and bio-pesticides (Pseudomonas fluoresces, Paecilomyceslilacinus & Pochoniachlamydospria). Bio-fertilizers are becoming an integral part of organic farming. They are preparations containing nitrogen-fixing, phosphate solubilizing, or cellular microorganisms that are used in seed, soil, or composting areas. Accelerate micro-organisms and microbial processes that increase the availability of nutrients that can be easily found by plants. Together with plant roots, bio-fertilizers play a vital role in improving soil fertility by fixing environmental nitrogen and, in addition, soluble soil soluble phosphates and substances that promote plant growth in the soil. Produce they are being promoted for harvesting naturally occurring, nutritional biological systems.
Biofertilizers such as Azospirillum, Phosphate solubilizing bacteria (Pseudomonas striata), Rhizobium (SB-120 for soybean, Rhizobium-NC-92 for groundnut, Rhizobium-Gr-2 for chickpea), four strains of ligno-cellulolytic fungi (Aspergillous sp, Phanerochaete chrysoporium, Trichoderma viride, and Pleurotus sp), and one strain of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) in addition to Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza (VAM) are being scientifically and more qualitatively mass multiplied and mass-produced at Institute of Organic Farming, UAS, Dharwad.
Karnataka state policy on organic farming
Organic farmers’ groups and NGOs have formed an ‘organic grassroots movement’ that supports organic farmers, establishes organic marketing channels, and seeks to influence policies. However, institutional and scientific support for organic farmers has recently been limited. A proper understanding of the effects, potentials, and barriers of organic farming is essential for political decision-making, the design of supportive strategies for farmers, and further research. Therefore, the research aimed to find out the changes in the economy of a group of farmers in Karnataka, India which had changed from traditional to organic farming.
Modern agriculture, with its ability to pull the country out of the food trap and reach the years of self-sufficiency in food grain production, brings with it a host of environmental problems such as declining yields, soil fertility, environmental pollution, and human health risks. To alleviate these problems, the Karnataka government has introduced a policy on organic farming to promote organic farming in the state, the main objective of which is to avoid the use of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides which are harmful to a human being, soil, and the environment. Empowered and working committees have been formed at the state level to implement this policy.
Karnataka is the first Indian state to introduce organic farming policy through the Organic Farming Village Program, where it seeks to attract farmers to organic farming, maintain ecosystem production and protect the health, farming environments implemented to strengthen friendly practices. Creating a market for organic produce in each hobli through a network of NGOs and reducing reliance on inorganic farming methods. The Karnataka government came up with a new idea of creating an ‘organic village’ in three phases through the Savayava Grama Yojana (Organic farming village program). Promoting organic farming as per the policy, the organic village/site program was launched in 2004-05 under which model organic sites of about 100 hectares are being developed in each district.
Farmers were encouraged to engage in organic farming and create markets for organic produce. Since the development of the village involves the participation of line departments; an official has been nominated as the nodal officer for the program. Relevant non-governmental organizations (NGOs) recruit two graduates with an agricultural background – either an agricultural science degree or an experienced agronomist and a village facilitator to implement the program. Now the program is being extended to another hubli of the taluk. Through it, the government intends to promote organic farming by creating awareness in the farming community and assisting in the transition period. The main objective of the organic farming village program is to maintain and enhance the health of ecosystems and organisms and to strengthen organic farming practices with less reliance on inorganic farming methods.
Objectives of policy on organic farming (Savayava Krishi)
- Reducing the debt burden of farmers and enabling them to earn sustenance and self-respect.
- To increase soil fertility and productivity by increasing soil life.
- Reduce the cost of cultivation by sourcing local natural resources to reduce farmers’ dependence on seeds, fertilizers, and plant protection materials.
- Proper use of valuable water resources and maintaining production levels.
- Improving the income of farmers through the production of quality products.
- Enhancing food security by encouraging traditional crops and traditional eating habits.
- Prevent migration to urban areas to increase employment opportunities in rural areas.
- Facilitate farmers’ self-help groups for most of their needs.
- To protect the environment and free from pollution and to protect the health of humans and animals.
- Equip farmers so that drought situations in rain-fed and drought-prone areas can be effectively reduced.
- Make appropriate institutional changes in teaching and research on organic farming.
Schemes for organic farming in Karnataka
There are also several schemes;
Savayava Bhagya Yojana – In 2013, under the Savya Bhagya Yojana, the government started issuing organic certification to farmers through the Karnataka State Organic Certification Agency.
Assistance is being provided for setting up organic fertilizer production units, such as vermicomposting, compost, bio-digester, Azolla, cattle urine collection pits, cement structures for the production of liquid manure / Panchhagavya/ Jeevamruta/ Beejamruta in each project area (100 hectares). The floor of cattle sheds for collecting urine and dung is also being assisted.
In addition, organic fertilizers, green manure seeds, concentrated fertilizers, oil cakes, bio-fertilizers are being distributed to farmers at discounted rates. In addition, support is being provided for cluster-level collection, grading, packaging, branding, and marketing of organic products.
Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)
The Prampragat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) is being implemented in all districts and talukas of Karnataka in an area of 50 acres from 2015-16. The program is being implemented in 50 district (cluster) project areas in all districts and talukas of Karnataka. Project areas are registered under the PKVY Implementation Area Certification Partnership Guarantee System (PGS).
Krishi Bhagya Scheme in Karnataka
To create subversives in the state of Karnataka, the state government has set up a new welfare scheme for state farmers. It was launched to provide necessary financial assistance to the needy farmers of the state. As about 70% of Karnataka’s state farmers depend on Mother Nature’s rain for their agricultural activities, state governments plan to introduce the latest technology available in the farming sector to increase its production. The scheme helps farmers to use the latest technology and farming equipment available to improve their farming process and also ensures that the sustainable farming practice in the state is better watered under the scheme. The management system should be developed.
The scheme has significantly improved the farming activities and the productivity of the farmers of the state, especially the farmers of the drylands of the state. Under this Krishi Bhagya scheme, farming machinery like tractors, farming machines, digging machines is offered on a rental basis. Where the rent is fixed at an affordable price those farmers of all sectors can get. According to the data released by the official statement of the concerned authority, about 200 centers for renting such farming machinery are operational in the state. In addition to these facts, farmers are being taught about rainwater harvesting and modern technology is being used for soil water conservation, post-harvest harvesting, and seed processing, etc.
Strategies for promoting organic farming in Karnataka
There are ample opportunities to promote organic farming in Karnataka. Therefore, the Karnataka government has adopted an appropriate strategy to speed up the organic farming program across the state.
Here are some key strategies;
An integrated approach to the promotion of organic farming in the state – There is an urgent need to integrate all the relevant schemes of different departments for the promotion of organic farming in an integrated approach. State government departments, the government of India, state government initiatives, low taxes, and institutions under the government of India, agricultural universities operate under one umbrella for promotion and implementation of organic farming programs in the state. The state’s financial allocations will be collected under “organic farming” and the state-level empowered committee will have the power to allocate funds to various schemes and agencies. An additional director in the department of agriculture has been made exclusively responsible for the promotion of organic farming.
State-level empowered committee for the promotion of organic farming – It is proposed to set up a state-level empowered committee headed by the Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner to monitor and implement this policy. The committee ensures coordination among the various departments and organizations related to organic farming, including arrangements for allocating budgets for organic farming.
Mini Mission on Organic Farming – Mini Mission will be headed by renowned scientists. It will act as an advisory body to the State Level Empowered Committee mainly includes project approvals, technical guidelines, monitoring of programs, and more.
Organic certification and its importance in Karnataka
Considering the importance of organic certification, the Karnataka government has approached the Karnataka State Organic Certification Agency (KSOCA) to regulate the quality of organic products available to consumers and to further encourage organic farming in the state as the first official organic certification body.
What is meant by KSOCA?
The Karnataka State Organic Certification Agency (KSOCA) is an organic certification division of the Karnataka State Seed and Organic Certification Agency (KSSOCA). This policy push will not only take farmers to the next level, but will engage them in many ways like from organizing them to educating them, pushing them toward certification, and finding appropriate contact with retailers.
Organic farming aims to produce quality and safe agricultural products that have no chemical residues following environmentally friendly production methods and farming systems that restore and maintain soil fertility. Certification is the certification of forms where organic production methods are developed that meet national and international standards for organic farming. Organic certification is required for marketing organic produce locally and abroad. It distinguishes organic produce from other products and thus protects the interests of organic farmers.
The objectives of the Karnataka State Seed Organic Certification Agency (KSSOCA) are;
- To provide quality certified seeds to farmers to increase production and productivity.
- Making certified organic seeds available to farmers so there will be an increase in the SSR (seed replacement ratio).
- Reducing seed growth failure at field and lab levels.
- Improving KSSOCA’s infrastructure for effective certification activities.
NPOP (National Program for Organic Production) – This is the National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) launched by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India. It provides information on organic production system standards, inspection and certification body approval standards and procedures, use of the national organic logo, and other regulations.
NSOP – NSOP stands for National Organic Product Standards, formulated by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government. The center has come up with two types of certification, the Organic National Program for Organic Certification (NPOP) and the Partnership Guarantee System (PGS).
Improving farm income – With a large portion of the state’s farmers relies on rain-fed agriculture; the policy looks at diversified farming to maximize production, productivity, and farm income. The policy also seeks to promote neutral grains, which will promote health for all. Focus on protection of agro-ecosystem Improving supply chain and infrastructure facilities for post-harvest handling and marketing of organic produce. Among other important things in the policy is to simplify the certification process which is essential for every organic farmer. Implementing quality control in the supply chain helps with grading, branding, labeling, and packaging resources.
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