09 May, 2021

7 Min Read

National Programme for Organic Production-Organic agriculture

National Programme for Organic Production-Organic agriculture

GS-Paper-3: Economic - Agriculture – UPSC PRELIMS – Mains Application

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has sourced finger millet and barnyard millet from farmers in Himalayas (Uttarakhand) for exports to Denmark. These millets were exported to Denmark after meeting the organic certification standards of the European Union (EU).

Organic Food

Organic farm produce means the produce obtained from organic agriculture, while organic food means food products that have been produced in accordance with specified standards for organic production. According to FSSAI,’organic agriculture’ is a system of farm design and management to create an ecosystem of agriculture production without the use of synthetic external inputs such as chemical fertilisers, pesticides and synthetic hormones or genetically modified organisms.

At present, organic products are exported provided they are produced, processed, packed and labelled as per the requirements of the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP).

  • The NPOP or the Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India) is a top- down mechanism run by the APEDA under the Ministry of Commerce for certifying general exports.
  • The NPOP came into inception in 2001 under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulations) Act, 1992.

Organic Food Regulatory System

  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the food regulator in the country and is also responsible for regulating organic food in the domestic market and imports. FSSAI had notified the existing certification system through Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations in 2017.
  • National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP)
    • NPOP grants organic farming certification through a process of third party certification.
    • It involves the accreditation programme for Certification Bodies, standards for organic production, promotion of organic farming etc.
    • It is implemented by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
    • The NPOP standards for production and accreditation system have been recognized by the European Commission, Switzerland and USA as equivalent to their respective accreditation systems.
  • Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS)
    • PGS is another process of certifying organic products.
    • The certification is in the form of a documented logo or a statement.
    • It is implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
    • The organic farmers have full control over the certification process. PGS certification is only for farmers or communities that can organise and perform as a group. Individual farmers or groups of farmers smaller than five members are not covered under PGS.
    • PGS is applicable on on-farm activities comprising of crop production, processing and livestock rearing, etc.
    • Off-farm processing activities such as storage, transport and value addition activities by persons/agencies other than PGS farmers away from the group are not covered under PGS.
  • Organic foods are also required to comply with the requirements of labelling of FSSAI in addition to that of NPOP or PGS-India.

Significance - The NPOP certification recognized by the EU and Switzerland enables India to export unprocessed plant products to these countries without the requirement of additional certification.

  • It also facilitates export of Indian organic products to the United Kingdom even in the post Brexit phase.
  • It has also been recognized by the Food Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) for trade of organic products in the domestic market.
  • Organic products covered under the bilateral agreement with NPOP need not to be recertified for import in India.

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)

  • This authority, which was established under the APEDA Act, 1985, functions under the control of Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • It has been mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of the scheduled products viz. fruits, vegetables and their products, meat products and poultry products, dairy products, etc.,
  • It has been entrusted with the responsibility to monitor import of sugar.

About APEDA: http://apeda.gov.in/apedawebsite/organic/index.htm

Source: PIB

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