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Organic farming in India: a vision towards a healthy nation

Organic farming in India: a vision towards a healthy nation Food quality and safety are the two important factors that have gained ever-increasing attention in general consumers. Conventionally grown foods have immense adverse health effects due to the presence of higher pesticide residue, more nitrate, heavy metals, hormones, antibiotic residue, and also genetically modified organisms. Moreover, conventionally grown foods are less nutritious and contain lesser amounts of protective antioxidants. In the quest for safer food, the demand for organically grown foods has increased during the last decades due to their probable health benefits and food safety concerns. Organic food production is defined as cultivation without the application of chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides or genetically modified organisms, growth hormones, and antibiotics. The popularity of organically grown foods is increasing day by day owing to their nutritional and health benefits. Organic farming also protects the environment and has a greater socio-economic impact on a nation. India is a country that is bestowed with indigenous skills and potentiality for growth in organic agriculture. Although India was far behind in the adoption of organic farming due to several reasons, presently it has achieved rapid growth in organic agriculture and now becomes one of the largest organic producers in the world. Therefore, organic farming has a great impact on the health of a nation like India by ensuring sustainable development. Key words: food safety; organic food; biodiversity; sustainable farming; conventional farming. In recent years, organic farming as a cultivation process is Introduction gaining increasing popularity (Dangour et  al., 2010). Organically Food quality and safety are two vital factors that have attained grown foods have become one of the best choices for both con- constant attention in common people. Growing environmental sumers and farmers. Organically grown foods are part of go green awareness and several food hazards (e.g. dioxins, bovine spongiform lifestyle. But the question is that what is meant by organic farming? encephalopathy, and bacterial contamination) have substantially de- (Chopra et al., 2013). creased the consumer’s trust towards food quality in the last decades. The term ‘organic’ was first coined by Northbourne, in 1940, in Intensive conventional farming can add contamination to the food his book entitled ‘Look to the Land’. chain. For these reasons, consumers are quested for safer and better foods that are produced through more ecologically and authentically Northbourne stated that ‘the farm itself should have bio- by local systems. Organically grown food and food products are be- lieved to meet these demands (Rembialkowska, 2007). logical completeness; it must be a living entity; it must © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Zhejiang University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by- nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/4/2/69/5861338 by DeepDyve user on 27 August 2020 70 S. Das et al., 2020, Vol. 4, No. 2 be a unit which has within itself a balanced organic Organic Farming Process life’(Nourthbourne, 2003). Northbourne also defined or - Organic farming and food processing practices are wide-ranging ganic farming as ‘an ecological production management and necessitate the development of socially, ecologically, and eco- system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, bio- nomically sustainable food production system. The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) has sug- logical cycles and soil biological activity’. gested the basic four principles of organic farming, i.e. the principle According to Winter and Davis (2006), ‘it is based on of health, ecology, fairness, and care (Figure  1). The main prin- minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management prac- ciples and practices of organic food production are to inspire and tices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological har- enhance biological cycles in the farming system, keep and enhance mony’. deep-rooted soil fertility, reduce all types of pollution, evade the application of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, conserve genetic They mentioned that organic produce is not grown with synthetic diversity in food, consider the vast socio-ecological impact of food pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, application of genetic production, and produce high-quality food in sufficient quantity modification techniques (such as genetically modified crops), sewage (IFOAM, 1998). sludge, or chemical fertilizers. According to the National Organic Programme implemented Whereas, conventional farming is the cultivation process where by USDA Organic Food Production Act (OFPA, 1990), agriculture synthetic pesticide and chemical fertilizers are applied to gain higher needs specific prerequisites for both crop cultivation and animal crop yield and profit. In conventional farming, synthetic pesticides husbandry. To be acceptable as organic, crops should be cultivated and chemicals are able to eliminate insects, weeds, and pests and in lands without any synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and growth factors such as synthetic hormones and fertilizers increase herbicides for 3  years before harvesting with enough buffer zone growth rate (Worthington, 2001). to lower contamination from the adjacent farms. Genetically engin- As synthetically produced pesticides and chemical fertilizers are eered products, sewage sludge, and ionizing radiation are strictly utilized in conventional farming, consumption of conventionally prohibited. Fertility and nutrient content of soil are managed pri- grown foods is discouraged, and for these reasons, the popularity of marily by farming practices, with crop rotation, and using cover organic farming is increasing gradually. crops that are boosted with animal and plant waste manures. Pests, Figure 1. Principles of organic farming (adapted from IFOAM, 1998). Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/4/2/69/5861338 by DeepDyve user on 27 August 2020 Organic farming in India, 2020, Vol. 4, No. 2 71 diseases, and weeds are mainly controlled with the adaptation of 2007). Organic wine has been reported to contain a higher level of physical and biological control systems without using herbicides and resveratrol (Levite et al., 2000). synthetic pesticides. Organic livestock should be reared devoid of Rossi et al. (2008) stated that organically grown tomatoes con- scheduled application of growth hormones or antibiotics and they tain more salicylic acid than conventional counterparts. Salicylic should be provided with enough access to the outdoor. Preventive acid is a naturally occurring phytochemical having anti-inflamma- health practices such as routine vaccination, vitamins and minerals tory and anti-stress effects and prevents hardening of arteries and supplementation are also needed (OFPA, 1990). bowel cancer (Rembialkowska, 2007; Butler et al., 2008). Total sugar content is more in organic fruits because of which they taste better to consumers. Bread made from organically grown grain was found to have better flavour and also had better crumb Benefits of Organic Farming elasticity (BjØrn and Fruekidle, 2003). Organically grown fruits Nutritional benefits and health safety and vegetables have been proved to taste better and smell good Magnusson et  al. (2003) and Brandt and MØlgaord (2001) men- (Rembialkowska, 2000). tioned that the growing demand for organically farmed fresh prod- Organic vegetables normally have far less nitrate content than ucts has created an interest in both consumer and producer regarding conventional vegetables (Woëse et  al., 1997). Nitrates are used in the nutritional value of organically and conventionally grown foods. farming as soil fertilizer but they can be easily transformed into ni- According to a study conducted by AFSSA (2003), organically grown trites, a matter of public health concern. Nitrites are highly reactive foods, especially leafy vegetables and tubers, have higher dry matter nitrogen species that are capable of competing with oxygen in the as compared to conventionally grown foods. Woëse et al. (1997) and blood to bind with haemoglobin, thus leading to methemoglobin- Bourn and Prescott (2002) also found similar results. Although or- emia. It also binds to the secondary amine to generate nitrosamine ganic cereals and their products contain lesser protein than conven- which is a potent carcinogen (Lairon, 2010). tional cereals, they have higher quality proteins with better amino As organically grown foods are cultivated without the use of pes- acid scores. Lysine content in organic wheat has been reported to ticides and sewage sludge, they are less contaminated with pesticide be 25%–30% more than conventional wheat (Woëse et  al., 1997; residue and pathogenic organisms such as Listeria monocytogenes Brandt et al., 2000). or Salmonella sp. or Escherichia coli (Van Renterghem et al., 1991; Organically grazed cows and sheep contain less fat and more Lung et al., 2001; Warnick et al., 2001). lean meat as compared to conventional counterparts (Hansson et al., Therefore, organic foods ensure better nutritional benefits and 2000). In a study conducted by Nürnberg et al. (2002), organically health safety. fed cow’s muscle contains fourfold more linolenic acid, which is a re- commended cardio-protective ω-3 fatty acid, with accompanying de- Environmental impact crease in oleic acid and linoleic acid. Pastushenko et al. (2000) found Organic farming has a protective role in environmental conserva- that meat from an organically grazed cow contains high amounts tion. The effect of organic and conventional agriculture on the en- of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The milk produced from the organic vironment has been extensively studied. It is believed that organic farm contains higher polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E farming is less harmful to the environment as it does not allow syn- (Lund, 1991). Vitamin E and carotenoids are found in a nutritionally thetic pesticides, most of which are potentially harmful to water, desirable amount in organic milk (Nürnberg et  al., 2002). Higher soil, and local terrestrial and aquatic wildlife (Oquist et  al., 2007). oleic acid has been found in organic virgin olive oil (Gutierrez et al., In addition, organic farms are better than conventional farms at 1999). Organic plants contain significantly more magnesium, iron, sustaining biodiversity, due to practices of crop rotation. Organic and phosphorous. They also contain more calcium, sodium, and po- farming improves physico-biological properties of soil consisting of tassium as major elements and manganese, iodine, chromium, mo- more organic matter, biomass, higher enzyme, better soil stability, lybdenum, selenium, boron, copper, vanadium, and zinc as trace enhanced water percolation, holding capacities, lesser water, and elements (Rembialkowska, 2007). wind erosion compared to conventionally farming soil (Fliessbach According to a review of Lairon (2010) which was based on the & Mäder, 2000; Edwards, 2007; Fileβbach et  al., 2007). Organic French Agency for food safety (AFSSA) report, organic products farming uses lesser energy and produces less waste per unit area or contain more dry matter, minerals, and antioxidants such as poly- per unit yield (Stolze et al., 2000; Hansen et al., 2001). In addition, phenols and salicylic acid. Organic foods (94%–100%) contain no organically managed soils are of greater quality and water retention pesticide residues in comparison to conventionally grown foods. capacity, resulting in higher yield in organic farms even during the Fruits and vegetables contain a wide variety of phytochemicals drought years (Pimentel et al., 2005). such as polyphenols, resveratrol, and pro-vitamin C and caroten- oids which are generally secondary metabolites of plants. In a study Socioeconomic impact of Lairon (2010), organic fruits and vegetables contain 27% more vitamin C than conventional fruits and vegetables. These secondary Organic cultivation requires a higher level of labour, hence produces metabolites have substantial regulatory effects at cellular levels and more income-generating jobs per farm (Halberg, 2008). According hence found to be protective against certain diseases such as cancers, to Winter and Davis (2006), an organic product typically costs chronic inflammations, and other diseases (Lairon, 2010). 10%–40% more than the similar conventionally crops and it de- According to a Food Marketing Institute (2008), some organic pends on multiple factors both in the input and the output arms. foods such as corn, strawberries, and marionberries have greater than On the input side, factors that enhance the price of organic foods 30% of cancer-fighting antioxidants. The phenols and polyphenolic include the high cost of obtaining the organic certification, the high antioxidants are in higher level in organic fruits and vegetables. It cost of manpower in the field, lack of subsidies on organics in India, has been estimated that organic plants contain double the amount unlike chemical inputs. But consumers are willing to pay a high price of phenolic compounds than conventional ones (Rembialkowska, as there is increasing health awareness. Some organic products also Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/4/2/69/5861338 by DeepDyve user on 27 August 2020 72 S. Das et al., 2020, Vol. 4, No. 2 have short supply against high demand with a resultant increase in labour, full participation of vibrant rural communities to enhance cost (Mukherjee et al., 2018). their confidence and mental health, and thus decreasing suicidal Biofertilizers and pesticides can be produced locally, so yearly rates among the farmers. Organic farming appears to generate 30% inputs invested by the farmers are also low (Lobley et al., 2005). As more employment in rural areas and labour achieves higher returns the labours working in organic farms are less likely to be exposed per unit of labour input (Pandey and Singh, 2012). to agricultural chemicals, their occupational health is improved (Thompson and Kidwell, 1998). Organic food has a longer shelf life Status of Organic Farming in India: Production, than conventional foods due to lesser nitrates and greater antioxi- Popularity, and Economic Growth dants. Nitrates hasten food spoilage, whereas antioxidants help to enhance the shelf life of foods (Shreck et al., 2006). Organic farming Organic food and farming have continued to grow across the world. is now an expanding economic sector as a result of the profit in- Since 1985, the total area of farmland under organic production curred by organic produce and thereby leading to a growing inclin- has been increased steadily over the last three decades (Willer and ation towards organic agriculture by the farmers. Lernoud, 2019). By 2017, there was a total of 69.8 million hectares of organically managed land recorded globally which represents a 20% growth or 11.7 million hectares of land in comparison to Organic Agriculture and Sustainable the year 2016. This is the largest growth ever recorded in organic Development farming (Willer and Lernoud, 2019). The countries with the lar- The concept of sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals— gest areas of organic agricultural land recorded in the year 2017 environmental health, economic profitability, and social and eco- are given in Figure 2. Australia has the largest organic lands with an nomic equity. The concept of sustainability rests on the principle that area of 35.65 million hectares and India acquired the eighth position we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the with a total organic agriculture area of 1.78 million hectares (Willer ability of future generations to meet their own needs. and Lernoud, 2019). The very basic approach to organic farming for the sustainable In 2017, it was also reported that day to day the number of environment includes the following (Yadav, 2017): organic produces increases considerably all over the world. Asia contributes to the largest percentage (40%) of organic production 1. Improvement and maintenance of the natural landscape and in the world and India contributes to be largest number of organic agro-ecosystem. producer (835 000) (Figures 3 and 4). 2. Avoidance of overexploitation and pollution of natural resources. The growth of organic farming in India was quite dawdling with 3. Minimization of the consumption of non-renewable energy re- only 41 000 hectares of organic land comprising merely 0.03% of sources. the total cultivated area. In India during 2002, the production of or- 4. Exploitation synergies that exist in a natural ecosystem. ganic farming was about 14 000 tonnes of which 85% of it was ex- 5. Maintenance and improve soil health by stimulating activity or ported (Chopra et al., 2013). The most important barrier considered soil organic manures and avoid harming them with pesticides. in the progress of organic agriculture in India was the lacunae in the 6. Optimum economic returns, with a safe, secure, and healthy government policies of making a firm decision to promote organic working environment. agriculture. Moreover, there were several major drawbacks in the 7. Acknowledgement of the virtues of indigenous know-how and growth of organic farming in India which include lack of awareness, traditional farming system. lack of good marketing policies, shortage of biomass, inadequate farming infrastructure, high input cost of farming, inappropriate Long-term economic viability can only be possible by organic marketing of organic input, inefficient agricultural policies, lack of farming and because of its premium price in the market, organic financial support, incapability of meeting export demand, lack of farming is more profitable. The increase in the cost of production by quality manure, and low yield (Figure  5; Bhardwaj and Dhiman, the use of pesticides and fertilizers in conventional farming and its 2019). negative impact on farmer’s health affect economic balance in a com- munity and benefits only go to the manufacturer of these pesticides. Continuous degradation of soil fertility by chemical fertilizers leads to production loss and hence increases the cost of production which makes the farming economically unsustainable. Implementation of a strategy encompassing food security, generation of rural em- ployment, poverty alleviation, conservation of the natural resource, adoption of an export-oriented production system, sound infrastruc- ture, active participation of government, and private-public sector will be helpful to make revamp economic sustainability in agricul- ture (Soumya, 2015). Social sustainability It is defined as a process or framework that promotes the wellbeing of members of an organization while supporting the ability of future generations to maintain a healthy community. Social sustainability can be improved by enabling rural poor to get benefit from agricul- tural development, giving respect to indigenous knowledge and prac- Figure 2. Country-wise areas of organic agriculture land, 2017 (Willer and Lernoud, 2019). tices along with modern technologies, promoting gender equality in Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/4/2/69/5861338 by DeepDyve user on 27 August 2020 Organic farming in India, 2020, Vol. 4, No. 2 73 Figure 3. Organic producers by region, 2017 (Willer and Lernoud, 2019). Figure 5. Constraints of organic farming in India in the past (Bhardwaj and Dhiman, 2019). Kumar (2020), in the union budget 2020–21, Rs 687.5 crore has been allocated for the organic and natural farming sector which was Rs 461.36 crore in the previous year. Indian Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture cited that the global market for organically grown foods is USD 26 billion which will be increased to the amount of USD 102 billion by 2020 (Chopra et al., 2013). The major states involved in organic agriculture in India are Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh Figure 4. Largest organic producers in the world, 2017 (Willer and Lernoud, (Chandrashekar, 2010). 2017). India ranked 8th with respect to the land of organic agriculture and 88th in the ratio of organic crops to agricultural land as per Recently, the Government of India has implemented a number of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development programs and schemes for boosting organic farming in the country. Authority and report of Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Among these the most important include (1) The Paramparagat (Chopra et  al., 2013; Willer and Lernoud, 2017). But a significant Krishi Vikas Yojana, (2) Organic Value Chain Development in North growth in the organic sector in India has been observed (Willer and Eastern Region Scheme, (3) Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, (4) The Lernoud, 2017) in the last decades. mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (a. National There have been about a threefold increase from 528 171 ha in Horticulture Mission, b.  Horticulture Mission for North East 2007–08 to 1.2 million ha of cultivable land in 2014–15. As per the and Himalayan states, c.  National Bamboo Mission, d.  National study conducted by Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry Horticulture Board, e.  Coconut Development Board, d.  Central in India, the organic food turnover is increasing at about 25% annu- Institute for Horticulture, Nagaland), (5) National Programme for ally and thereby will be expected to reach USD 1.36 billion in 2020 Organic Production, (6) National Project on Organic Farming, and from USD 0.36 billion in 2014 (Willer and Lernoud, 2017). (7) National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (Yadav, 2017). The consumption and popularity of organic foods are increasing Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) is a method of farming day by day throughout the world. In 2008, more than two-thirds of where the cost of growing and harvesting plants is zero as it re- US consumers purchased organic food, and more than one fourth duces costs through eliminating external inputs and using local re- purchased them weekly. The consumption of organic crops has sources to rejuvenate soils and restore ecosystem health through doubled in the USA since 1997. A consumer prefers organic foods diverse, multi-layered cropping systems. It requires only 10% of in the concept that organic foods have more nutritional values, have water and 10% electricity less than chemical and organic farming. lesser or no additive contaminants, and sustainably grown. The The micro-organisms of Cow dung (300–500 crores of beneficial families with younger consumers, in general, prefer organic fruits micro-organisms per one gram cow dung) decompose the dried bio- and vegetables than consumers of any other age group (Thompson mass on the soil and convert it into ready-to-use nutrients for plants. et  al., 1998; Loureino et  al., 2001; Magnusson et  al., 2003). The Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana since 2015–16 and Rashtriya popularity of organic foods is due to its nutritional and health Krishi Vikas Yojana are the schemes taken by the Government of benefits and positive impact on environmental and socioeconomic India under the ZBNF policy (Sobhana et  al., 2019). According to status (Chopra et  al., 2013) and by a survey conducted by the UN Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/4/2/69/5861338 by DeepDyve user on 27 August 2020 74 S. Das et al., 2020, Vol. 4, No. 2 Environment Programme, organic farming methods give small yields Indian traditional farmers possess a deep insight based on their (on average 20% lower) as compared to conventional farming knowledge, extensive observation, perseverance and practices for (Gutierrez et al., 1999). As the yields of organically grown foods are maintaining soil fertility, and pest management which are found low, the costs of them are higher. The higher prices made a barrier effective in strengthening organic production and subsequent eco- for many consumers to buy organic foods (Lairon, 2010). Organic nomic growth in India. The progress in organic agriculture is quite farming needs far more lands to generate the same amount of or- commendable. Currently, India has become the largest organic pro- ganic food produce as conventional farming does, as chemical fertil- ducer in the globe (Willer and Lernoud, 2017, 2019) and ranked izers are not used here, which conventionally produces higher yield. eighth having 1.78 million ha of organic agriculture land in the Organic agriculture hardly contributes to addressing the issue of world in 2017 (Sharma and Goyal, 2000; Adolph and Butterworth, global climate change. During the last decades, the consumption of 2002; Willer and Lernoud, 2019). organic foods has been increasing gradually, particularly in western Various newer technologies have been invented in the field of countries (Meiner-Ploeger, 2005). organic farming such as integration of mycorrhizal fungi and nano- Organic foods have become one of the rapidly growing food biostimulants (to increase the agricultural productivity in an en- markets with revenue increasing by nearly 20% each year since 1990 vironmentally friendly manner), mapping cultivation areas more (Winter and Davis, 2006). The global organic food market has been consciously through sensor technology and spatial geodata, 3D reached USD 81.6 billion in 2015 from USD 17.9 billion during the printers (to help the country’s smallholder), production from side year 2000 (Figure 6) and most of which showed double-digit growth streams and waste along with main commodities, promotion and im- rates (Willer and Lernoud, 2019). provement of sustainable agriculture through innovation in drip irri- gation, precision agriculture, and agro-ecological practices. Another advancement in the development of organic farming is BeeScanning Future Prospects of Organic Farming in India App, through which beekeepers can fight the Varroa destructor India is an agriculture-based country with 67% of its population parasite mite and also forms a basis for population modelling and and 55% of manpower depending on farming and related activities. breeding programmes (Nova-Institut GmbH, 2018). Agriculture fulfils the basic needs of India’s fastest-growing population Inhana Rational Farming Technology developed on the principle accounted for 30% of total income. Organic farming has been found ‘Element Energy Activation’ is a comprehensive organic method for to be an indigenous practice of India that practised in countless rural ensuring ecologically and economically sustainable crop production and farming communities over the millennium. The arrival of modern and it is based on ancient Indian philosophy and modern scientific techniques and increased burden of population led to a propensity to- knowledge. wards conventional farming that involves the use of synthetic fertilizer, The technology works towards (1) energization of soil system: chemical pesticides, application of genetic modification techniques, etc. reactivation of soil-plant-microflora dynamics by restoration of Even in developing countries like India, the demand for organically the population and efficiency of the native soil microflora and (2) grown produce is more as people are more aware now about the safety energization of plant system: restoration of the two defence mech- and quality of food, and the organic process has a massive influence on anisms of the plant kingdom that are nutrient use efficiency and soil health, which devoid of chemical pesticides. Organic cultivation has superior plant immunity against pest/disease infection (Barik and an immense prospect of income generation too (Bhardwaj and Dhiman, Sarkar, 2017). 2019). The soil in India is bestowed with various types of naturally avail- able organic nutrient resources that aid in organic farming (Adolph and Butterworth, 2002; Reddy, 2010; Deshmukh and Babar, 2015). Conclusions India is a country with a concrete traditional farming system, Organic farming yields more nutritious and safe food. The popularity ingenious farmers, extensive drylands, and nominal use of chemical of organic food is growing dramatically as consumer seeks the organic fertilizers and pesticides. Moreover, adequate rainfall in north-east foods that are thought to be healthier and safer. Thus, organic food per- hilly regions of the country where few negligible chemicals are em- haps ensures food safety from farm to plate. The organic farming pro- ployed for a long period of time, come to fruition as naturally or- cess is more eco-friendly than conventional farming. Organic farming ganic lands (Gour, 2016). keeps soil healthy and maintains environment integrity thereby, pro- moting the health of consumers. Moreover, the organic produce market is now the fastest growing market all over the world including India. Organic agriculture promotes the health of consumers of a nation, the ecological health of a nation, and the economic growth of a nation by income generation holistically. India, at present, is the world’s largest organic producers (Willer and Lernoud, 2019) and with this vision, we can conclude that encouraging organic farming in India can build a nu- tritionally, ecologically, and economically healthy nation in near future. Funding This review work was funded by the University Grants Commission, Government of India. Conflict of interest Figure 6. Worldwide growth in organic food sales (Willer and Lernoud, 2019). None declared. Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/4/2/69/5861338 by DeepDyve user on 27 August 2020 Organic farming in India, 2020, Vol. 4, No. 2 75 Hansson, I., Hamilton, C., Ekman, T., Forslund, K. (2000). Carcass quality in References certified organic production compared with conventional livestock pro- Adolph,  B., Butterworth,  J. (2002). Soil fertility management in semi-arid duction. Journal of Veterinary Medicine. B, Infectious Diseases and Veter- India: its role in agricultural systems and the livelihoods of poor people. inary Public Health, 47: 111–120. Natural Resources Institute, UK. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). (1998). AFSSA. (2003). 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Nutritional quality of organic versus conventional on 15 May 2011. http://orgprints.org/8400/1/Organic_Farming_in_Europe_ fruits, vegetables, and grains. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Volume06_The_Environmental_Impacts_of_Organic_Farming_in_Europe.pdf. Medicine, 7: 161–173. Thompson,  G.D., Kidwell,  J. (1998). Explaining the choice of organic pro- Yadav, M. (2017). Towards a healthier nation: organic farming and govern- cedure: cosmetic defects, prices, and consumer preferences. American ment policies in India. International Journal of Advance Research and De- Journal of Agricultural Economics, 80: 277–287. velopment, 2: 153–159. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Food Quality and Safety Oxford University Press

Organic farming in India: a vision towards a healthy nation

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Abstract

Food quality and safety are the two important factors that have gained ever-increasing attention in general consumers. Conventionally grown foods have immense adverse health effects due to the presence of higher pesticide residue, more nitrate, heavy metals, hormones, antibiotic residue, and also genetically modified organisms. Moreover, conventionally grown foods are less nutritious and contain lesser amounts of protective antioxidants. In the quest for safer food, the demand for organically grown foods has increased during the last decades due to their probable health benefits and food safety concerns. Organic food production is defined as cultivation without the application of chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides or genetically modified organisms, growth hormones, and antibiotics. The popularity of organically grown foods is increasing day by day owing to their nutritional and health benefits. Organic farming also protects the environment and has a greater socio-economic impact on a nation. India is a country that is bestowed with indigenous skills and potentiality for growth in organic agriculture. Although India was far behind in the adoption of organic farming due to several reasons, presently it has achieved rapid growth in organic agriculture and now becomes one of the largest organic producers in the world. Therefore, organic farming has a great impact on the health of a nation like India by ensuring sustainable development. Key words: food safety; organic food; biodiversity; sustainable farming; conventional farming. In recent years, organic farming as a cultivation process is Introduction gaining increasing popularity (Dangour et  al., 2010). Organically Food quality and safety are two vital factors that have attained grown foods have become one of the best choices for both con- constant attention in common people. Growing environmental sumers and farmers. Organically grown foods are part of go green awareness and several food hazards (e.g. dioxins, bovine spongiform lifestyle. But the question is that what is meant by organic farming? encephalopathy, and bacterial contamination) have substantially de- (Chopra et al., 2013). creased the consumer’s trust towards food quality in the last decades. The term ‘organic’ was first coined by Northbourne, in 1940, in Intensive conventional farming can add contamination to the food his book entitled ‘Look to the Land’. chain. For these reasons, consumers are quested for safer and better foods that are produced through more ecologically and authentically Northbourne stated that ‘the farm itself should have bio- by local systems. Organically grown food and food products are be- lieved to meet these demands (Rembialkowska, 2007). logical completeness; it must be a living entity; it must © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Zhejiang University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by- nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/4/2/69/5861338 by DeepDyve user on 27 August 2020 70 S. Das et al., 2020, Vol. 4, No. 2 be a unit which has within itself a balanced organic Organic Farming Process life’(Nourthbourne, 2003). Northbourne also defined or - Organic farming and food processing practices are wide-ranging ganic farming as ‘an ecological production management and necessitate the development of socially, ecologically, and eco- system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, bio- nomically sustainable food production system. The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) has sug- logical cycles and soil biological activity’. gested the basic four principles of organic farming, i.e. the principle According to Winter and Davis (2006), ‘it is based on of health, ecology, fairness, and care (Figure  1). The main prin- minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management prac- ciples and practices of organic food production are to inspire and tices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological har- enhance biological cycles in the farming system, keep and enhance mony’. deep-rooted soil fertility, reduce all types of pollution, evade the application of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, conserve genetic They mentioned that organic produce is not grown with synthetic diversity in food, consider the vast socio-ecological impact of food pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, application of genetic production, and produce high-quality food in sufficient quantity modification techniques (such as genetically modified crops), sewage (IFOAM, 1998). sludge, or chemical fertilizers. According to the National Organic Programme implemented Whereas, conventional farming is the cultivation process where by USDA Organic Food Production Act (OFPA, 1990), agriculture synthetic pesticide and chemical fertilizers are applied to gain higher needs specific prerequisites for both crop cultivation and animal crop yield and profit. In conventional farming, synthetic pesticides husbandry. To be acceptable as organic, crops should be cultivated and chemicals are able to eliminate insects, weeds, and pests and in lands without any synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and growth factors such as synthetic hormones and fertilizers increase herbicides for 3  years before harvesting with enough buffer zone growth rate (Worthington, 2001). to lower contamination from the adjacent farms. Genetically engin- As synthetically produced pesticides and chemical fertilizers are eered products, sewage sludge, and ionizing radiation are strictly utilized in conventional farming, consumption of conventionally prohibited. Fertility and nutrient content of soil are managed pri- grown foods is discouraged, and for these reasons, the popularity of marily by farming practices, with crop rotation, and using cover organic farming is increasing gradually. crops that are boosted with animal and plant waste manures. Pests, Figure 1. Principles of organic farming (adapted from IFOAM, 1998). Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/4/2/69/5861338 by DeepDyve user on 27 August 2020 Organic farming in India, 2020, Vol. 4, No. 2 71 diseases, and weeds are mainly controlled with the adaptation of 2007). Organic wine has been reported to contain a higher level of physical and biological control systems without using herbicides and resveratrol (Levite et al., 2000). synthetic pesticides. Organic livestock should be reared devoid of Rossi et al. (2008) stated that organically grown tomatoes con- scheduled application of growth hormones or antibiotics and they tain more salicylic acid than conventional counterparts. Salicylic should be provided with enough access to the outdoor. Preventive acid is a naturally occurring phytochemical having anti-inflamma- health practices such as routine vaccination, vitamins and minerals tory and anti-stress effects and prevents hardening of arteries and supplementation are also needed (OFPA, 1990). bowel cancer (Rembialkowska, 2007; Butler et al., 2008). Total sugar content is more in organic fruits because of which they taste better to consumers. Bread made from organically grown grain was found to have better flavour and also had better crumb Benefits of Organic Farming elasticity (BjØrn and Fruekidle, 2003). Organically grown fruits Nutritional benefits and health safety and vegetables have been proved to taste better and smell good Magnusson et  al. (2003) and Brandt and MØlgaord (2001) men- (Rembialkowska, 2000). tioned that the growing demand for organically farmed fresh prod- Organic vegetables normally have far less nitrate content than ucts has created an interest in both consumer and producer regarding conventional vegetables (Woëse et  al., 1997). Nitrates are used in the nutritional value of organically and conventionally grown foods. farming as soil fertilizer but they can be easily transformed into ni- According to a study conducted by AFSSA (2003), organically grown trites, a matter of public health concern. Nitrites are highly reactive foods, especially leafy vegetables and tubers, have higher dry matter nitrogen species that are capable of competing with oxygen in the as compared to conventionally grown foods. Woëse et al. (1997) and blood to bind with haemoglobin, thus leading to methemoglobin- Bourn and Prescott (2002) also found similar results. Although or- emia. It also binds to the secondary amine to generate nitrosamine ganic cereals and their products contain lesser protein than conven- which is a potent carcinogen (Lairon, 2010). tional cereals, they have higher quality proteins with better amino As organically grown foods are cultivated without the use of pes- acid scores. Lysine content in organic wheat has been reported to ticides and sewage sludge, they are less contaminated with pesticide be 25%–30% more than conventional wheat (Woëse et  al., 1997; residue and pathogenic organisms such as Listeria monocytogenes Brandt et al., 2000). or Salmonella sp. or Escherichia coli (Van Renterghem et al., 1991; Organically grazed cows and sheep contain less fat and more Lung et al., 2001; Warnick et al., 2001). lean meat as compared to conventional counterparts (Hansson et al., Therefore, organic foods ensure better nutritional benefits and 2000). In a study conducted by Nürnberg et al. (2002), organically health safety. fed cow’s muscle contains fourfold more linolenic acid, which is a re- commended cardio-protective ω-3 fatty acid, with accompanying de- Environmental impact crease in oleic acid and linoleic acid. Pastushenko et al. (2000) found Organic farming has a protective role in environmental conserva- that meat from an organically grazed cow contains high amounts tion. The effect of organic and conventional agriculture on the en- of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The milk produced from the organic vironment has been extensively studied. It is believed that organic farm contains higher polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E farming is less harmful to the environment as it does not allow syn- (Lund, 1991). Vitamin E and carotenoids are found in a nutritionally thetic pesticides, most of which are potentially harmful to water, desirable amount in organic milk (Nürnberg et  al., 2002). Higher soil, and local terrestrial and aquatic wildlife (Oquist et  al., 2007). oleic acid has been found in organic virgin olive oil (Gutierrez et al., In addition, organic farms are better than conventional farms at 1999). Organic plants contain significantly more magnesium, iron, sustaining biodiversity, due to practices of crop rotation. Organic and phosphorous. They also contain more calcium, sodium, and po- farming improves physico-biological properties of soil consisting of tassium as major elements and manganese, iodine, chromium, mo- more organic matter, biomass, higher enzyme, better soil stability, lybdenum, selenium, boron, copper, vanadium, and zinc as trace enhanced water percolation, holding capacities, lesser water, and elements (Rembialkowska, 2007). wind erosion compared to conventionally farming soil (Fliessbach According to a review of Lairon (2010) which was based on the & Mäder, 2000; Edwards, 2007; Fileβbach et  al., 2007). Organic French Agency for food safety (AFSSA) report, organic products farming uses lesser energy and produces less waste per unit area or contain more dry matter, minerals, and antioxidants such as poly- per unit yield (Stolze et al., 2000; Hansen et al., 2001). In addition, phenols and salicylic acid. Organic foods (94%–100%) contain no organically managed soils are of greater quality and water retention pesticide residues in comparison to conventionally grown foods. capacity, resulting in higher yield in organic farms even during the Fruits and vegetables contain a wide variety of phytochemicals drought years (Pimentel et al., 2005). such as polyphenols, resveratrol, and pro-vitamin C and caroten- oids which are generally secondary metabolites of plants. In a study Socioeconomic impact of Lairon (2010), organic fruits and vegetables contain 27% more vitamin C than conventional fruits and vegetables. These secondary Organic cultivation requires a higher level of labour, hence produces metabolites have substantial regulatory effects at cellular levels and more income-generating jobs per farm (Halberg, 2008). According hence found to be protective against certain diseases such as cancers, to Winter and Davis (2006), an organic product typically costs chronic inflammations, and other diseases (Lairon, 2010). 10%–40% more than the similar conventionally crops and it de- According to a Food Marketing Institute (2008), some organic pends on multiple factors both in the input and the output arms. foods such as corn, strawberries, and marionberries have greater than On the input side, factors that enhance the price of organic foods 30% of cancer-fighting antioxidants. The phenols and polyphenolic include the high cost of obtaining the organic certification, the high antioxidants are in higher level in organic fruits and vegetables. It cost of manpower in the field, lack of subsidies on organics in India, has been estimated that organic plants contain double the amount unlike chemical inputs. But consumers are willing to pay a high price of phenolic compounds than conventional ones (Rembialkowska, as there is increasing health awareness. Some organic products also Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/4/2/69/5861338 by DeepDyve user on 27 August 2020 72 S. Das et al., 2020, Vol. 4, No. 2 have short supply against high demand with a resultant increase in labour, full participation of vibrant rural communities to enhance cost (Mukherjee et al., 2018). their confidence and mental health, and thus decreasing suicidal Biofertilizers and pesticides can be produced locally, so yearly rates among the farmers. Organic farming appears to generate 30% inputs invested by the farmers are also low (Lobley et al., 2005). As more employment in rural areas and labour achieves higher returns the labours working in organic farms are less likely to be exposed per unit of labour input (Pandey and Singh, 2012). to agricultural chemicals, their occupational health is improved (Thompson and Kidwell, 1998). Organic food has a longer shelf life Status of Organic Farming in India: Production, than conventional foods due to lesser nitrates and greater antioxi- Popularity, and Economic Growth dants. Nitrates hasten food spoilage, whereas antioxidants help to enhance the shelf life of foods (Shreck et al., 2006). Organic farming Organic food and farming have continued to grow across the world. is now an expanding economic sector as a result of the profit in- Since 1985, the total area of farmland under organic production curred by organic produce and thereby leading to a growing inclin- has been increased steadily over the last three decades (Willer and ation towards organic agriculture by the farmers. Lernoud, 2019). By 2017, there was a total of 69.8 million hectares of organically managed land recorded globally which represents a 20% growth or 11.7 million hectares of land in comparison to Organic Agriculture and Sustainable the year 2016. This is the largest growth ever recorded in organic Development farming (Willer and Lernoud, 2019). The countries with the lar- The concept of sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals— gest areas of organic agricultural land recorded in the year 2017 environmental health, economic profitability, and social and eco- are given in Figure 2. Australia has the largest organic lands with an nomic equity. The concept of sustainability rests on the principle that area of 35.65 million hectares and India acquired the eighth position we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the with a total organic agriculture area of 1.78 million hectares (Willer ability of future generations to meet their own needs. and Lernoud, 2019). The very basic approach to organic farming for the sustainable In 2017, it was also reported that day to day the number of environment includes the following (Yadav, 2017): organic produces increases considerably all over the world. Asia contributes to the largest percentage (40%) of organic production 1. Improvement and maintenance of the natural landscape and in the world and India contributes to be largest number of organic agro-ecosystem. producer (835 000) (Figures 3 and 4). 2. Avoidance of overexploitation and pollution of natural resources. The growth of organic farming in India was quite dawdling with 3. Minimization of the consumption of non-renewable energy re- only 41 000 hectares of organic land comprising merely 0.03% of sources. the total cultivated area. In India during 2002, the production of or- 4. Exploitation synergies that exist in a natural ecosystem. ganic farming was about 14 000 tonnes of which 85% of it was ex- 5. Maintenance and improve soil health by stimulating activity or ported (Chopra et al., 2013). The most important barrier considered soil organic manures and avoid harming them with pesticides. in the progress of organic agriculture in India was the lacunae in the 6. Optimum economic returns, with a safe, secure, and healthy government policies of making a firm decision to promote organic working environment. agriculture. Moreover, there were several major drawbacks in the 7. Acknowledgement of the virtues of indigenous know-how and growth of organic farming in India which include lack of awareness, traditional farming system. lack of good marketing policies, shortage of biomass, inadequate farming infrastructure, high input cost of farming, inappropriate Long-term economic viability can only be possible by organic marketing of organic input, inefficient agricultural policies, lack of farming and because of its premium price in the market, organic financial support, incapability of meeting export demand, lack of farming is more profitable. The increase in the cost of production by quality manure, and low yield (Figure  5; Bhardwaj and Dhiman, the use of pesticides and fertilizers in conventional farming and its 2019). negative impact on farmer’s health affect economic balance in a com- munity and benefits only go to the manufacturer of these pesticides. Continuous degradation of soil fertility by chemical fertilizers leads to production loss and hence increases the cost of production which makes the farming economically unsustainable. Implementation of a strategy encompassing food security, generation of rural em- ployment, poverty alleviation, conservation of the natural resource, adoption of an export-oriented production system, sound infrastruc- ture, active participation of government, and private-public sector will be helpful to make revamp economic sustainability in agricul- ture (Soumya, 2015). Social sustainability It is defined as a process or framework that promotes the wellbeing of members of an organization while supporting the ability of future generations to maintain a healthy community. Social sustainability can be improved by enabling rural poor to get benefit from agricul- tural development, giving respect to indigenous knowledge and prac- Figure 2. Country-wise areas of organic agriculture land, 2017 (Willer and Lernoud, 2019). tices along with modern technologies, promoting gender equality in Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/4/2/69/5861338 by DeepDyve user on 27 August 2020 Organic farming in India, 2020, Vol. 4, No. 2 73 Figure 3. Organic producers by region, 2017 (Willer and Lernoud, 2019). Figure 5. Constraints of organic farming in India in the past (Bhardwaj and Dhiman, 2019). Kumar (2020), in the union budget 2020–21, Rs 687.5 crore has been allocated for the organic and natural farming sector which was Rs 461.36 crore in the previous year. Indian Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture cited that the global market for organically grown foods is USD 26 billion which will be increased to the amount of USD 102 billion by 2020 (Chopra et al., 2013). The major states involved in organic agriculture in India are Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh Figure 4. Largest organic producers in the world, 2017 (Willer and Lernoud, (Chandrashekar, 2010). 2017). India ranked 8th with respect to the land of organic agriculture and 88th in the ratio of organic crops to agricultural land as per Recently, the Government of India has implemented a number of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development programs and schemes for boosting organic farming in the country. Authority and report of Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Among these the most important include (1) The Paramparagat (Chopra et  al., 2013; Willer and Lernoud, 2017). But a significant Krishi Vikas Yojana, (2) Organic Value Chain Development in North growth in the organic sector in India has been observed (Willer and Eastern Region Scheme, (3) Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, (4) The Lernoud, 2017) in the last decades. mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (a. National There have been about a threefold increase from 528 171 ha in Horticulture Mission, b.  Horticulture Mission for North East 2007–08 to 1.2 million ha of cultivable land in 2014–15. As per the and Himalayan states, c.  National Bamboo Mission, d.  National study conducted by Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry Horticulture Board, e.  Coconut Development Board, d.  Central in India, the organic food turnover is increasing at about 25% annu- Institute for Horticulture, Nagaland), (5) National Programme for ally and thereby will be expected to reach USD 1.36 billion in 2020 Organic Production, (6) National Project on Organic Farming, and from USD 0.36 billion in 2014 (Willer and Lernoud, 2017). (7) National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (Yadav, 2017). The consumption and popularity of organic foods are increasing Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) is a method of farming day by day throughout the world. In 2008, more than two-thirds of where the cost of growing and harvesting plants is zero as it re- US consumers purchased organic food, and more than one fourth duces costs through eliminating external inputs and using local re- purchased them weekly. The consumption of organic crops has sources to rejuvenate soils and restore ecosystem health through doubled in the USA since 1997. A consumer prefers organic foods diverse, multi-layered cropping systems. It requires only 10% of in the concept that organic foods have more nutritional values, have water and 10% electricity less than chemical and organic farming. lesser or no additive contaminants, and sustainably grown. The The micro-organisms of Cow dung (300–500 crores of beneficial families with younger consumers, in general, prefer organic fruits micro-organisms per one gram cow dung) decompose the dried bio- and vegetables than consumers of any other age group (Thompson mass on the soil and convert it into ready-to-use nutrients for plants. et  al., 1998; Loureino et  al., 2001; Magnusson et  al., 2003). The Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana since 2015–16 and Rashtriya popularity of organic foods is due to its nutritional and health Krishi Vikas Yojana are the schemes taken by the Government of benefits and positive impact on environmental and socioeconomic India under the ZBNF policy (Sobhana et  al., 2019). According to status (Chopra et  al., 2013) and by a survey conducted by the UN Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/4/2/69/5861338 by DeepDyve user on 27 August 2020 74 S. Das et al., 2020, Vol. 4, No. 2 Environment Programme, organic farming methods give small yields Indian traditional farmers possess a deep insight based on their (on average 20% lower) as compared to conventional farming knowledge, extensive observation, perseverance and practices for (Gutierrez et al., 1999). As the yields of organically grown foods are maintaining soil fertility, and pest management which are found low, the costs of them are higher. The higher prices made a barrier effective in strengthening organic production and subsequent eco- for many consumers to buy organic foods (Lairon, 2010). Organic nomic growth in India. The progress in organic agriculture is quite farming needs far more lands to generate the same amount of or- commendable. Currently, India has become the largest organic pro- ganic food produce as conventional farming does, as chemical fertil- ducer in the globe (Willer and Lernoud, 2017, 2019) and ranked izers are not used here, which conventionally produces higher yield. eighth having 1.78 million ha of organic agriculture land in the Organic agriculture hardly contributes to addressing the issue of world in 2017 (Sharma and Goyal, 2000; Adolph and Butterworth, global climate change. During the last decades, the consumption of 2002; Willer and Lernoud, 2019). organic foods has been increasing gradually, particularly in western Various newer technologies have been invented in the field of countries (Meiner-Ploeger, 2005). organic farming such as integration of mycorrhizal fungi and nano- Organic foods have become one of the rapidly growing food biostimulants (to increase the agricultural productivity in an en- markets with revenue increasing by nearly 20% each year since 1990 vironmentally friendly manner), mapping cultivation areas more (Winter and Davis, 2006). The global organic food market has been consciously through sensor technology and spatial geodata, 3D reached USD 81.6 billion in 2015 from USD 17.9 billion during the printers (to help the country’s smallholder), production from side year 2000 (Figure 6) and most of which showed double-digit growth streams and waste along with main commodities, promotion and im- rates (Willer and Lernoud, 2019). provement of sustainable agriculture through innovation in drip irri- gation, precision agriculture, and agro-ecological practices. Another advancement in the development of organic farming is BeeScanning Future Prospects of Organic Farming in India App, through which beekeepers can fight the Varroa destructor India is an agriculture-based country with 67% of its population parasite mite and also forms a basis for population modelling and and 55% of manpower depending on farming and related activities. breeding programmes (Nova-Institut GmbH, 2018). Agriculture fulfils the basic needs of India’s fastest-growing population Inhana Rational Farming Technology developed on the principle accounted for 30% of total income. Organic farming has been found ‘Element Energy Activation’ is a comprehensive organic method for to be an indigenous practice of India that practised in countless rural ensuring ecologically and economically sustainable crop production and farming communities over the millennium. The arrival of modern and it is based on ancient Indian philosophy and modern scientific techniques and increased burden of population led to a propensity to- knowledge. wards conventional farming that involves the use of synthetic fertilizer, The technology works towards (1) energization of soil system: chemical pesticides, application of genetic modification techniques, etc. reactivation of soil-plant-microflora dynamics by restoration of Even in developing countries like India, the demand for organically the population and efficiency of the native soil microflora and (2) grown produce is more as people are more aware now about the safety energization of plant system: restoration of the two defence mech- and quality of food, and the organic process has a massive influence on anisms of the plant kingdom that are nutrient use efficiency and soil health, which devoid of chemical pesticides. Organic cultivation has superior plant immunity against pest/disease infection (Barik and an immense prospect of income generation too (Bhardwaj and Dhiman, Sarkar, 2017). 2019). The soil in India is bestowed with various types of naturally avail- able organic nutrient resources that aid in organic farming (Adolph and Butterworth, 2002; Reddy, 2010; Deshmukh and Babar, 2015). Conclusions India is a country with a concrete traditional farming system, Organic farming yields more nutritious and safe food. The popularity ingenious farmers, extensive drylands, and nominal use of chemical of organic food is growing dramatically as consumer seeks the organic fertilizers and pesticides. Moreover, adequate rainfall in north-east foods that are thought to be healthier and safer. Thus, organic food per- hilly regions of the country where few negligible chemicals are em- haps ensures food safety from farm to plate. The organic farming pro- ployed for a long period of time, come to fruition as naturally or- cess is more eco-friendly than conventional farming. Organic farming ganic lands (Gour, 2016). keeps soil healthy and maintains environment integrity thereby, pro- moting the health of consumers. Moreover, the organic produce market is now the fastest growing market all over the world including India. Organic agriculture promotes the health of consumers of a nation, the ecological health of a nation, and the economic growth of a nation by income generation holistically. India, at present, is the world’s largest organic producers (Willer and Lernoud, 2019) and with this vision, we can conclude that encouraging organic farming in India can build a nu- tritionally, ecologically, and economically healthy nation in near future. Funding This review work was funded by the University Grants Commission, Government of India. Conflict of interest Figure 6. 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Food Quality and SafetyOxford University Press

Published: Jul 17, 2020

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