Organic Farming in India: Problems and Potential
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Over the past ten years, the organic farming movement has rapidly expanded in India and worldwide. Throughout the twentieth century, organic farming movements developed in various places around the world in response to the ecological and social destruction caused by industrial agriculture. Primarily, increasing consumer demand in Europe and North America has fuelled the recent consolidation of a global organic farming movement and encouraged its rapid growth. In light of its increasing popularity, organic farming requires further policy attention and research. In particular, it is important that organic farming be considered for its potential as a rural development strategy. In examining the role of the organic farming movement in India, this paper argues that organic farming in India has the potential to improve livelihoods, provide food security and food sovereignty, and serve as part of a climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy. However, there are many obstacles and limitations to be overcome before organic farming can become a powerful force for change in India. Poor agricultural investment and government support for conventional agriculture, undeveloped domestic markets, and costly and complicated certification processes all pose significant obstacles for organic farmers. The success of the movement hinges on further institutional support, in which the government must play a key role. The conclusions in this paper are drawn from a review of the relevant literature, as well as from correspondence with nine Indian organic farmers, two organizations, and an alternative education centre.