Study highlights key hindrances to organic farming

Business Standard, October 28, 2015

Despite the government’s constant efforts to promote organic farming, only 16.3 per cent farmers of Rajasthan use organic inputs, while fear of less production and unavailability of organic inputs form the major hindrances to the chemical-ridden farming.

At least 97.6 per cent of farmers of the state are aware about the hazards caused by chemical-based farming inputs but “fear of less production, transition period and unavailability of organic inputs” in the market discourage them to switch to organic farming, a recent study stated.

The study conducted by Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) also noted that 95.5 per cent consumers are also aware of ill effects of chemical-based agricultural products while 88.6 per cent consumers feel organic products are better than chemical based.

The key findings were shared by CUTS in a state level advocacy cum dissemination meeting held yesterday in Jaipur under its project ‘ProOrganic’, being implemented with the support of Sweden-based Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC).

According to the findings, consumers of Dausa district of the state are most aware in the state about organic products and positive health impacts.

Non-governmental players play a vital role in motivating farmers as well as consumers for adoption of organic farming and products, it said.

The study was carried out in 102 Gram Panchayats from 51 blocks in selected six districts of Rajasthan, namely, Kota, Pratapgarh, Udaipur, Jaipur, Dausa and Chittorgarh.

A total of 3,122 samples of feedback were collected.

Out of the total samples, 1,605 comprised of farmer respondents while 1,517 belonged to consumers.

Approximately 40 per cent respondents were women.

Underlining the consumer side, the study pointed out that 95.5 per cent consumers are aware of ill effects of consuming fruits/ vegetable grown through use of inorganic fertilizer and pesticides.

70.2 per cent of the consumers believe that organic products are free from pesticides and insecticides, 82.1 per cent said they are good for health and 62.3 per cent said they contain more nutrition.

A majority of farmers suggested that spreading awareness and purchasing of organic food for Army, mid-day meal and at state-run canteens can be the apt measures to promote organic farming.

The study highlighted that 19.9 per cent farmers in Kota are doing Organic farming, 17.4 per cent are doing inorganic farming, while 62.1 per cent farmers have taken up both patterns of farming.

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