As the organic food market expands, fruit and vegetable providers are underneath stress to supply greater, and a number of them are taking shortcuts. The ideas of natural farming are difficult to follow whilst the volumes are huge, exchange insiders say.
“The demand is growing exponentially. Retailers need extent and range and growers are compelled to use chemicals and bypass off their merchandise as organic,” a prime dealer to organic stores in Bengaluru told DH.
It happens with a variety of products. Take organic rice. Recent entrants to the trade buy paddy from random growers, have it milled, and sell it as organic to big supply chains. “All they want is a transaction certificate in a natural farmer’s name, and that they now and again get it even with out the farmer’s knowledge,” stated B N Nandish, an organic farmer in Shivamogga district. “This trend issues true natural farmers.”
Some retail chains in Bengaluru cheat, too. “They technique us for natural produce and ask for a replica of our organic certification. They place orders for a couple of weeks after which stop, handiest to use our name to sell products sourced from some other place,” said Ravi K, chief government officer of a Regional Cooperative Organic Farmers’ Association Federation, facilitated via the state’s agriculture department.
The more genuine investors are worried approximately the authenticity of what they get. “I had to test at least 50 assets earlier than getting a genuine natural meals provider,” stated Shodhan Kumar, owner of an organic food import and export company.
Champions of the motion are concerned that the primary objectives of organic farming are being compromised. Currently, neither the farmer nor the client reaps the advantages of organic farming.
In 2004, Karnataka has become the primary kingdom in India to get natural farming coverage. The region below natural certification extended from 2,500 hectares in 2004 to 1 lakh-plus hectare in 2018, and licensed manufacturing is estimated at three lakh tonnes.
The market is growing quicker, and the increase comes with its personal problems.“As the supply chain grows longer, there’s a more disconnect and it turns into nearly not possible for a client to trace the manufacturer,” said Vishal, who works with farmers and runs an organic store in Bengaluru.
She calls for a law with a decentralized method to maintain the motion.
Her apprehensions are legitimate: it’s far predicted that approximately 80% of the natural grocery store is managed by means of some large players.
DH visited a few organic stores in Bengaluru and requested the storekeepers whether they were aware of where their resources had been coming from. In eight out of 10 stores, they didn’t have a clean solution.
“In any natural exchange fair, you spot every object to be had at each stall. There’s no readability about the source. Even the farmers’ federations, in place of selling what they produce, display a huge variety of merchandise,” stated V Gayathri of the Institute for Cultural Research and Action, a pioneering organic farming initiative within the kingdom.
The federations must marketplace place-particular merchandise. That will help nearby farmers, she observed.
The kingdom has 15 organic farmer federations and 576 organic villages. These villages had been declared natural under the nation authorities’ organic scheme. They have now lost motivation for want of steering and supervision.
What ought to were a motion of farmers is now driven by using industry. As a result, it has moved far from the fundamental standards of sustainable livelihood, ecological obligation, and meals safety.
“Farmers do want to take in natural farming, however, they want capabilities, assets and non-stop guide. Even with regards to authorities help — within the form of studies or subsidies — natural farming gets a smaller share than chemical farming,” said Dr. K Ramakrishnappa, former extra director, Department of Horticulture.
The goal ought to be to replace chemical farming with organic farming, he said.
Hanumantaraju, who resources fruits and vegetables to about eighty natural retailers in Bengaluru, works with 400 farmers, two-thirds of whom are licensed.
Though his 4 subject people randomly visit the farms, he reveals it hard to check if the product is actual.
“Getting them examined for chemical residues in a lab permitted by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) is pricey. I have to shell out approximately Rs 10,000 for every pattern,” he told DH.
A nation-run lab in Bengaluru does the exams totally free for farmers, but now not many realize approximately it. Also, the lab isn’t but authorized by way of NABL or the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.