Organic agriculture in the country has grown from 42,000 hectares in 2003-04 to 10.5 lakh ha, according to initial estimates for 2009-10. Out of this, nearly 7.5 lakh ha are fully certified while the remaining 3 lakh ha are under various stages of conversion, minister of agriculture, consumer affairs, food and public distribution Sharad Pawar said today.
Addressing a meeting of the parliamentary consultative committee attached to his ministry, Pawar said, the growth has been significant since India had a mere 42,000 ha under certified organic farming in 2003-04.
Pawar said the agriculture ministry is promoting organic farming in the country by implementing various schemes such as National Project on Organic Farming, National Horticulture Mission, Technology Mission for North East and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.
He said two new innovative components - biological soil health assessment and introduction of PGS certification system - have been added to the National Project on Organic Farming from the current year.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has initiated an all-India network project on organic farming to ensure the development and promotion of scientifically proven methodologies in organic farming, he added.
Organic farming will not only ensure increased availability of organic and biological source of nutrients but will also provide technologies and information which help other forms of agriculture in restoring soil health and conservation of resources and is an ideal option for rainfed, marginal land and hilly areas, Pawar said.