What you see above is the official organic farming certification logo of India. Team Zizira’s effort to get a better understanding of the very term Organic is an ongoing one. As we learn, we would like to share with you. Some of what we present here may seem too ‘technical’, but are important for a deeper understanding of what is ‘certified organic’.
How is the organic farming certification issued in India?
The details were on the website of the Spice Board of the Government of India:
“A trademark – “India Organic” will be granted on the basis of compliance with the National Standards for Organic Production (NSOP). Communicating the genuineness as well as the origin of the product, this trademark will be owned by the Government of India. Only such exporters, manufacturers and processors whose products are duly certified by the accredited inspection and certification agencies, will be granted the license to use of the logo which would be governed by a set of regulations.”Source
What are the National Standards for Organic Production (NSOP)?
The NSOP is set and implemented under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority of India (APEDA).
NPOP – in gist:
The national programme involves the accreditation programme for Certification Bodies, standards for organic production, promotion of organic farming, etc. The NPOP standards for production and accreditation system have been recognized by European Commission and Switzerland as equivalent to their country standards. Similarly, USDA has recognized NPOP conformity assessment procedures of accreditation as equivalent to that of the US. With these recognitions, Indian organic products duly certified by the accredited Certification Bodies of India are accepted by the importing countries.
The National Standards for Organic Production are detailed in section 3 of the NPOP document published by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry in Sept. 2005.
Here are the organic farming certification marks of a few other countries.
What is Organic Agriculture?
We found a clear explanation on the website of Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
“Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It emphasizes the use of management practices in preference to the use of off-farm inputs, taking into account that regional conditions require locally adapted systems. This is accomplished by using, where possible, agronomic, biological, and mechanical methods, as opposed to using synthetic materials, to fulfil any specific function within the system.” Source (FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission, 1999).
As an extension of the above definition are four principles of Organic Agriculture compiled by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM)
According to IFOAM, Organic Agriculture is based on
- Principle of health: Organic Agriculture should sustain and enhance the health of soil, plant, animal, human and planet as one and indivisible.
- Principle of ecology: Organic Agriculture should be based on living ecological systems and cycles, work with them, emulate them and help sustain them.
- Principle of fairness: Organic Agriculture should build on relationships that ensure fairness with regard to the common environment and life opportunities.
- Principle of care: Organic Agriculture should be managed in a precautionary and responsible manner to protect the health and well-being of current and future generations and the environment.
Organic certification for export from India is controlled and granted by the Agricultural Processed Foods Export Development Authority (APEDA) which works under the Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India.
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