Organic certification systems in India

India’s organic food market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of over 25% during 2016-2021.

India’s organic food sector is estimated at Rs. 2700 crores (approximately USD 415 million) which stands at lesser than even one percent of the global organic food market estimated at about USD 90 Billion in 2015. Indian Organic food sector is primarily driven by Exports comprising about Rs. 2,100 crores and an organized sector domestic certified market estimated between Rs. 250 to Rs. 300 crores.

As India is heading towards increasing its organic production yet the farming community is not aware and clear about organic certification system. This article is about how farmers, promoting institutions or any other entity engaged in production of organic agriculture can certify their land as Organic.

There are two types of Certification systems which are popular in India.

Points of difference

Participatory Guarantee System

Third party certification

Meaning PGS is a quality assurance initiative that is locally relevant, emphasize the participation of stakeholders, including producers and consumers and operate outside the frame of third party certification. Certification shall refer to the procedure by which the accredited Certification Body by way of a Scope Certificate assures that the production or processing system of the operator has been methodically assessed and conforms to the specified requirements as envisaged in the National Programme for Organic Production.
Verification mechanism Farmers living in similar geographical areas inspect and verify each other’s process and confirms the adoption of standards. Verification of process is carried out by an independent third party which is accredited as per the concerned standards guidelines.
Certification fee PGS-India programme do not stipulates any fee, but Regional Councils and Local Groups may agree upon some fee structure to be paid by LGs to RC, depending upon the services being offered by the RC. The cost of third party certification is presented in the table below.
Markets covered Only meant for domestic markets. Certification standards are accepted across the countries depending upon the agreement in between countries on organic standards.
Suitability of the certificate PGS is more suitable in case where there is a moderate incremental margin for the PGS certified commodities based on the appreciation of market. Third party certification is more suitable where the commodities have either an export potential or market is willing to pay premium for the certified commodity.

In case farmers are willing to opt for PGS certification they can apply for the certificate through any of the Regional Councils nearby there area.

  1. Click here to access the list of Regional Councils.
  2. For third party organic certification, click here to access the list of Accredited Certification bodies in India.      

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