IFOAM and its Organic Movements

The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) regards any system that is based on the Principles of Organic Agriculture and uses organic methods, as ‘Organic Agriculture’ and any farmer practicing such a system as an ‘organic farmer’. This includes numerous forms of certified and non-certified Organic Agriculture. Guarantee Systems may be for instance third party certification, including group certification, as well as participatory guarantee systems.

Since 1972, IFOAM occupies an unimpeded position as the only international umbrella organization of the organic world, i.e. all stakeholders contributing to the organic vision. This allows IFOAM to unite, lead and assist the organic movement. Continue reading

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National Programme for Organic Production

In India, Agricultural Processed Foods Export Development Authority (APEDA) under Ministry of Commerce is the controlling body for organic certification for export. Till date there are no domestic standards for organic produce within India. Currently 11 certification agencies have been sanctioned to undertake certification procedure under National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP). Although there is no system for monitoring the labeling of organic produce sold within India, this primarily affects the retail public. Commercial buyers for whom this is an issue have simply taken the export system as a de facto standard and are willing to pay premium prices for produce from growers certified under the NPOP. Internationally, equivalency negotiations are underway, and some agreements are already in place, to harmonize certification between countries, facilitating international trade. There are also international certification bodies, including members of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA), and Ecocert. Where formal agreements do not exist between countries, organic product for export is often certified by agencies from the importing countries, which may establish permanent foreign offices for this purpose. In 2006, India’s organic certification process under NPOP has been granted equivalence with European Union. It has also been recognized for conformity assessment by USDA’s NOP.

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Participatory Guarantee System (PGS)

The world is turning healthy. Yes, you heard that right. Isn’t that so good to hear? Eating healthy, going green, turning brown- all these phrases ring a bell in our heads. Can you imagine your skin glowing, no pimples, and hair soft and healthy? Wheeep, sounds awesome, right? THEN BUY ORGANIC!!!!!!

There is more than one reason why the organic movement is gaining its importance in the modern era. The first and foremost reason could be the letdown created by the conventional agriculture – undiscerning usage of chemicals causing air, water and soil pollution, health menaces, increase in pest and disease incidence, loss of crop diversity, untenable productivity and so on. On the other hand, lure towards organic foods started slowly by the health conscious urban community, which is visible among other section of our society. In addition, more number of farmers is showing inclination towards organic farming owing to remarkable efforts being taken up by both government and non-government organizations. All these happenings during the recent years helped in opening new walks for organic foods in the domestic as well as in international markets. General opinion among the consumers is that organic foods are nutritious, tasty, long shelf life and safe. In order to protect the demand and interests of the consumers the process of certification has become inescapable for organic consumer goods including organic foods, cosmetics, medicines, fabrics, etc. Already such initiatives are operating and there are different mechanisms, systems and agencies for certification of organic goods. PGS is one of these systems being initiated in different parts of the world, especially for small organic farmers who can produce organic foods for domestic market. In India PGS is being initiated by different organizations through OFAI and during 2011 PGS has seen launched by the Government of India, heralding its official recognition.

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Organic Certification

Just yesterday my dad was saying “so the dal (pulses) you ate yesterday was organic”. I got really excited and I asked “Really? Show!!!!” And then when I read the packet there were no certifications. It said organic, but it wasn’t really organic and this is just one instance out of the many instances that keeps happening all over the world.

So how to identify if a product is organic or sold only in the pretext of it being organic. I thought, it will be great if I can share how to identify between actual organic product and “so-called” organic products.

Organic Certification

It is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants. Requirements vary from country to country, and generally involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping that include:

Organic Market – Highlights

“Save the Planet…Buy Organic”

“YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!” Just a few days ago my friend was saying this to me and I made a not-so-witty joke saying “oh really, if you eat a cupcake, then you’re a cupcake?” Ha-ha, she said and made a straight face! Well what she said really does make sense now that I think about it. Imagine, if we eat potatoes all day we would become round and plump like a potato…

(Photo credits: Sahiba Pannu, my high school friend)

(Photo credits: Sahiba Pannu, my high school friend)

Today’s consumer is becoming more and more cognizant about their well-being; the Indian market is offering rising potential for health friendly food segments such as that of organic food. Organic food serves as a promising substitute for the population concerned about the consequences of high amounts of chemical pesticides in food items – both in terms of self – consumption as well as the ill impact on the environment. The affinity of an individual towards consumption of organic food items is highly dependent on the awareness levels, spending capacity and accessibility available to the individual. With growing awareness towards healthy food, increasing income levels, and shifts in consumer behavior, the country’s nascent organic food market is fast transforming into the world’s fastest growing market. In addition, mounting export market coupled with government’s support has propelled the market that will further boost the demand for organic food products in the country.

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Organic Farming

The phrase ‘GO BROWN’ is a very common expression now. What does that seem to indicate? That everything we appear to do in our lifestyles should be ‘brown’? That sounds funny, right? It indeed has a similar meaning. It means going organic. Now the question arises, what does organic mean? Organic means of, relating to, or derived from living matter. Organic may mean different things in different contexts, but the main idea remains the same. It arises from living matter.Organic

IFOAM – International Federation Of organic Agriculture Movements in March 2008 gave Organic farming the following definition:

“Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.”
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