The rise of the ‘wild’ Arunachal kiwi

Context: Arunachal is first in the country to obtain organic certification for kiwi under Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD-NER), a scheme for the northeastern states by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, making it the only certified organic fruit of their kind in the country.

Analysis

  • Kiwis of Ziro Valley — located in the Lower Subansiri district — were certified as organic following a standard three-year process.
  • An agricultural practise/product is considered organic when there are no chemical fertilisers or pesticides involved in its cultivation process.
  • Such certifications in India can be obtained after strict scientific assessment done by the regulatory body, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
  • The kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa Chev.) is a “deciduous fruiting vine native to Yangtze river valley of south and central China.”
  • It is also called “China’s miracle fruit” and “Horticulture wonder of New Zealand”.
  • Kiwifruit vine originated in China, but its full economic potential was exploited by the New Zealanders, which accounts for over 70 per cent of world trade.
  • In Arunachal Pradesh, a domesticated variety of kiwi was introduced as a commercial fruit only in 2000.
  • Arunachal Pradesh accounts for 50 per cent of the country’s kiwi production.
  • Like Meghalaya is known for lakadong turmeric, Manipur is known for black rice, Arunachal Pradesh should be known for kiwi.

Organic Food

  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has the mandate to regulate the manufacture, distribution, sell or import “organic foods” in India under the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017 notified under the provisions of the Food Safety Standards Act, 2006.
  • Non-food items are not covered under the mandate of the FSS Act, 2006.

Which systems of certification are recognized in the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017?

  • The Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017 recognize already established two systems of certification i.e.:
  1. Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) implemented by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, and
  2. National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) implemented by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • The Accredited Certification Bodies in the case of NPOP and Local Group in the case of PGS-India are responsible for certifying the Organic Food.
  • If a food is marked ‘organic’, it does not mean it does not contain insecticides and contaminants. However, their limit is regulated.
  • The Ministry of Commerce has implemented the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) since 2001.
  • Fruits, vegetables, fibre and animal products that do not contain chemical pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms and induced hormones can be certified as organic food in India.

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana

  • “Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana” of the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare is an elaborated component of the National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).
  • Under PKVY Organic farming is promoted through the adoption of the organic village by cluster approach and Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) certification.

Expected Outcomes

  1. Promotion of commercial organic production through certified organic farming.
  2. The produce will be pesticide residue free and will contribute to improve the health of consumer.
  3. It will raise farmer’s income and create potential market for traders.
  4. It will motivate the farmers for natural resource mobilization for input production.

Programme Implementation

  1. Fifty or more farmers will form a cluster having 50-acre land to take up the organic farming under the scheme. In this way, during three years 10,000 clusters will be formed covering 5.0 lakh acre area under organic farming.
  2. There will be no liability on the farmers for expenditure on certification.
  3. Every farmer will be provided Rs. 20,000 per acre in three years for a seed to harvesting of crops and to transport produce to the market.
  4. Organic farming will be promoted by using traditional resources and the organic products will be linked with the market.

Organic Farming Policy of 2005

  • Objectives
  1. Maintenance of soil fertility by encouraging and enhancing the biological cycle within farming systems involving micro-organisms, soil flora and fauna, plants and animals.
  2. Identification of areas and crops suitable for organic farming.
  3. Setting up of model organic farms for getting seed material for organic cultivation.
  4. Assurance of production and supply of quality organic input.
  5. Adoption of biological methods for pest and disease control.
  6. Promotion of group certification.
  7. Improvement in condition of livestock that allow them to perform all aspects of their innate behaviour.
  • Since the launch of the Organic Farming Policy of 2005, there has been an increase in the area under organic farming by about 70 per centSikkim is now a fully organic state.
  • So, despite accusations that the PKVY is merely a repackaging of previously existing schemes, it really is a more focused and targeted approach towards the promotion of organic farming techniques and benefits.

Sikkim, India’s first ‘fully organic’ state wins FAO’S Future Policy Gold Award 2018 (IE)

  • India’s first “100 per cent organic state” Sikkim has won the “Oscar for best policies”, conferred by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for the world’s best policies promoting agroecological and sustainable food systems.
  • Sikkim is the first organic state in the world. All of its farmland is certified organic.
  • Organic Agriculture means no synthetic external inputs such as chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides and synthetic hormones or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have been used in agricultural production.
  • Note: Manure contains large quantities of organic matter and small quantities of nutrients. It increases the water-holding capacity of sandy soil.

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