Bhubaneswar: A daylong workshop was recently organised here to discuss the opportunities and challenges in organic farming and marketing of such products.
Welcoming the participants, Dr. Jagatbandhu Mohapatra, co-ordinator of ‘India Eco Food Campaign’ promoting safe food, listed out the issues impacting marketing of organic products. He attributed it to non-availability of good seeds for organic gardening, absence of a standard operating system for marketing of organic products, lack of public outlet for such products, absence of farmer organization which makes it is difficult for retailer to collect and market the products, lack of coordination between farmers and retailers and lack of information about the certification process.
Dr Ganganesh Sharma, Regional Director of Regional Centre for Organic Farming (Bhubaneswar), elaborated on certification of organic products. He emphasised on forming local groups and registering them under PGS India, which will help farmers get better price from their produce. He advised the participants to avail of government schemes from time to time.
Sharma informed the gathering about Paramparik Krushi Vikash Yojana (PKVY) run by the state government through organisations in tribal pockets of Odisha. The objective of this project was to protect the traditional systems and promote organic farming, he added.
Swagata Moharana discussed the experience of KASAM, a Phulbani-based organisation dealing with organic products. He focused on the role of producers and retailers in the marketing system.
Puspa Panda of PRERANA, which deals in organic fertiliser, pesticides, leaf compost and organic food, emphasised on urban farming using household waste. She also spoke on the importance of organic food for a healthy life.
Maheswar Khillar of Kitchen Garden India presented the organic kitchen garden model developed in Amrut Vatika at Saheed Nagar.
Similarly, Suraj Rout of C&G Agro Ventures Pvt Ltd shared his experience on marketing of vegetables after processing and packaging. His organisation uses a technology to clean vegetables that reduces the impact of pesticides and chemical fertiliser used at the time of cultivation.
The participants felt the need to create awareness among consumers about safe and environment-friendly production of food, develop the domestic and local markets on organic products and generate awareness among the farmers on importance of certification.
The workshop, whose basic objective was to bring a consciousness on effective marketing of organic produce, was attended by over 40 organic retailers and other stakeholders.