As the natural food market expands, fruit and vegetable providers are under pressure to deliver extra, and some of them are taking shortcuts. The principles of natural farming are hard to comply with while the volumes are big, change insiders say.
“The demand is growing exponentially. Retailers want volume and range, and growers are pressured to use chemicals and bypass off their products as organic,” the main provider to natural shops in Bengaluru advised DH.
It occurs with various products. Take organic rice. Recent entrants to the trade purchase paddy from random growers, have it milled and sell it naturally to big delivery chains. “All they want is a transaction certificate in a natural farmer’s name, and that they from time to time get it even without the farmer’s know-how,” said BN Nandish, a natural farmer in Shivamogga district. “This trend worries actual natural farmers.”
Some retail chains in Bengaluru cheat, too. “They technique us for natural products and ask for a replica of our natural certification. They region orders for multiple weeks and then prevent, most effective to use our call to sell merchandise sourced from somewhere else,” said Ravi K, leader govt officer of a Regional Cooperative Organic Farmers’ Association Federation, facilitated by way of the kingdom’s agriculture branch.
The more actual investors are worried approximately the authenticity of what they get. “I had to test as a minimum 50 assets earlier than getting an actual organic meals provider,” said Shodhan Kumar, owner of a natural food import and export firm. Champions of the motion are worried that the number one targets of natural farming are being compromised. Currently, neither the farmer nor the consumer reaps the blessings of natural farming.
In 2004, Karnataka became the primary country in India to get a natural farming policy. The area under natural certification increased from 2,500 hectares in 2004 to at least one lakh-plus hectares in 2018, and certified manufacturing is estimated at three lakh tonnes. The market is developing faster, and the boom comes with its personal problems.“As the deliver chain grows longer, there’s a greater disconnect, and it turns into nearly not possible for a patron to hint the manufacturer,” said Vishal, who works with farmers and runs an organic keep in Bengaluru. She calls for a law with a decentralized technique to preserve the motion. Her apprehensions are legitimate: it is anticipated that some huge players manage about 80% of the natural grocery store.
DH visited a few natural stores in Bengaluru and requested the storekeepers to know where their elements have been coming from. In 8 out of 10 stores, they didn’t have a clear answer.
“In any organic trade honest, you spot each object available at each stall. There’s no clarity approximately the source. Instead of promoting what they produce, even the farmers’ federations show a wide range of merchandise,” stated V Gayathri of the Institute for Cultural Research and Action, a pioneering natural farming initiative inside the country.
The federations need to marketplace vicinity-particular merchandise. That will help neighborhood farmers, she discovered. The kingdom has 15 natural farmer federations and 576 organic villages. These villages were declared organic under the state authorities’ natural scheme. They have now misplaced motivation for want of guidance and supervision. What ought to have been a motion of farmers is now pushed via industry. As a result, it has moved away from the fundamental standards of sustainable livelihood, ecological responsibility, and food safety.
“Farmers do need to absorb natural farming. However, they need talents, sources, and continuous support. Unfortunately, even in terms of government guide — inside the shape of research or subsidies — natural farming gets a smaller percentage than chemical farming,” stated Dr. K Ramakrishnappa, former extra director, Department of Horticulture.
The intention ought to be to replace chemical farming with organic farming, he stated.
Hanumantaraju, who components fruits and greens to approximately eighty organic stores in Bengaluru, works with 400 farmers, two-thirds of whom are certified.
Though his four subject people randomly go to the farms, he reveals it difficult to test if the product is genuine.
“Getting them examined for chemical residues in a lab accepted through the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) is highly-priced. I should shell out approximately Rs 10,000 for each pattern,” he told DH.
A state-run lab in Bengaluru does the checks without spending a dime for farmers, however now not many know approximately it. Also, the lab is not yet accredited via NABL or the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.
Testing natural food isn’t something a character customer thinks approximately, even when she is paying a top class. There has to be a place for farmers to deposit their produce, from where samples can be checked for residues, many felt.
Saraswati, who works with approximately 40 farmers and supplies organic produce to shops in Bengaluru, believes the growth of organic produce has led to an inflow of players without an idea approximately the spirit of natural farming.