Organic Agriculture - `Towards Organic India`

Released on: October 12, 2007, 3:36 am

Press Release Author: Responsenet

Industry: Non Profit

Press Release Summary: Organic Agriculture: \"Towards Organic India\"

Press Release Body:
Organic Agriculture: \"Towards Organic India\"

New Delhi, 3 rd October: The First National Conference on Participatory Guarantee
System (PGS) for Organic Agriculture is being held at Indian Social Institute in New
Delhi between 3rd and 4th October\'07, with an aim to exchange knowledge on the
experiences in implementation of PGS, to define the role of civil society,
government, and key stakeholders in promoting PGS at a wider scale with the
involvement of small farmers and to facilitate local markets for the organic produce
of the small and marginal farmers.
The conference was attended by government representatives, NGOs, other development
organizations, and farmer groups across the country. The conference resulted in the
network of individuals and organizations with a shared development goal.
Organic agriculture holds the key for rural transformation and sustainable
development in our country. This practice of agriculture involves preservation of
natural bio-diversity and effective management of biological and natural resources
to improve farm productivity and pest management without the use of any external
inputs such as chemical fertilizers, chemical pesticides, and Genetically Modified
(GM) inputs. With organic farming practices, the country will be less dependent on
unsustainable inputs which would simultaneously enhance local environmental
resources and national food security, while contributing towards rural livelihood
Though there are obvious benefits of organic cultivation and consumption, the small
and marginal farmers face a challenge to guarantee their produce as organic in local
and domestic markets. The third party certification process to guarantee organic
produce involves exhaustive documentation and high costs which are beyond the
capacity of the small farmers As an alternative, a community based certification
with local standards was pioneered by Dr. Alexander Daniel of Institute for
Integrated Rural Development (IIRD), Aurangabad and implemented in Paithan Taluka of
Maharashtra since 1998. This system called as Participatory Guarantee System (PGS)
involves the farmers themselves in guaranteeing their produce as organic as per the
norms and standards defined by the local group of farmers. The marketing of such
produce is based on mutual trust and cooperation between consumers and producers and
thus is more applicable for local and domestic marketing. This system is being
implemented in different parts of the country as an alternative to the formal third
party certification which benefits the small and marginal farmers.
Dr. Daniel Gustafson,resident Representative,FAO( Food & Agriculture Organisation)
India said \" Indian context is different fron the west market. Unlike other peoples
Indian people have more spiritual connection between food and health. So organic
culture can be easily correlated with Indian context. But here people are not much
aware of the organic food and its culture .Even Indian Supermarkets is not
differentiable between organic and non organic food and there is no brand separation
too.\" He emphasized on the PGS certification to a national system which should be
uniform all over the country.
Dr. Suman Sahai, President, Gene campaign said \"There should be a rational standard
which ensure the food safety across the country. Its became a challenge to the
farmers and the policy makers to standardize the products used for the farming,
pesticides, water etc. Now new technology of genetic engineering seeds became a
threat to the farming in India.\" According to her Organic farming is more affordable
than the other form of agriculture.
Ms Daniel, President of IIRD has awakened the Indian farmers to bring bask the glory
of farming through Organic Agriculture which will definitely opens the various
opportunity of branding.

About PGS:
Participatory Guarantee Systems share a common goal with change to third party
certification systems in providing a credible guarantee for consumers seeking
organic produce. The difference is in approach. As the name suggests, direct
participation of farmers and even consumers in the certification process is not only
encouraged but may be required. Such involvement is entirely realistic in the
context of the small farms and local, direct markets that PGS systems are most
likely to serve. Active participation on the part of the stakeholders results in
greater empowerment but also greater responsibility. This requires PGS programs to
place a high priority on knowledge and capacity building -not only for producers but
for consumers as well. This direct involvement allows PGS programs to be less
onerous in terms of paperwork and record-keeping requirements -an important element,
since PGS systems seek to be absolutely inclusive in bringing small farmers into an
organic system of production. In stark contrast to existing certification programs
that start with the idea that farmers must prove they are in compliance to be
certified, PGS programs use an integrity based approach that starts with a
foundation of trust. It builds from there with an unparalleled transparency and
openness, maintained in an environment that minimizes hierarchies and administrative
IIRD,The Organisers

Institute for Integrated Rural Development (IIRD) is a premier development
organization founded by late Dr.Alexander Daniel, in Maharashtra State in India,
promoting development alternatives through the initiatives of groups of rural poor
for over two decades. IIRD involves in promoting organic agriculture as one of its
main agenda and has promoted organic agriculture through awareness programmes,
training of farmers, community action programmes on organic agriculture, networking
with like minded organizations and lobbying nationally and internationally for
organic agriculture. For its outstanding contribution to eco-centered development,
IIRD received the international Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD)
IIRD and its partner organisations are presently implementing a national programme
for domestic marketing of organic produce of small farmers, through innovative
marketing structures \"organic bazaars\". The organic bazaar movement initiated in
1998 with the establishment of the organic bazaar in Aurangabad, has now spread to
13 locations in different parts of India empowering thousands of small organic
farmers through alternative marketing systems that create partnerships between
consumers and producers. A National Coordinating Committee (NCC) has been
constituted for implementing this programme. IIRD along with the NCC is organizing
the conference

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