The onset of pandemic has actually work for the growth of the Organic industry globally. In India also we seem to be sitting at the start of the hockey stick growth which will happen if right interventions at different levels are taken. There are a number of challenges that the Indian organic food industry is facing today.

First lets see some data points. India has second highest number of smart phones in the world, last year India sold 3.2 million iPhones and in next 7 years the luxury goods market in India is expected to become $30 bn.

All this data shows that Indian consumers are aspiring and buying all those things that are available in the western countries and following the trends. Another survey showed that in India 67% consumers are willing to buy products with sustainability claims. This shows that India is a upcoming market for natural, organic, sustainable and responsible consumption.

Indian organic policy framework has been export centric and domestic market was never looked as the opportunity. India has the second highest population in the world and because of the increase in GDP it is also a big market. In last two years because of the Covid natural and organic products demand has increased.Despite this market it is still very small.

So we understand that a large opportunity is available as we know that the consumers are willing to purchase and hence certain interventions are needed by different stakeholders and the biggest stakeholder is the government.

Following are some of the interventions that could help in increasing the size of organic industry.

We have to understand that ultimately it’s the consumer who drives the sales and hence the policy framework should be consumption focus. So far the government has worked quite a bit on the sourcing side i.e. farming sector. Many schemes and incentives for organic and natural farming are available. Even there is a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the manufacturer. However a consumer centric scheme has been completely missing so far.

So a policy framework is needed which is consumer centric. In order to achieve this I propose following:-

1- Formation of an independent governing body, responsible to take consumer centric initiatives. This governing body should be funded and by the govt. withindustry participation. For the operationalisation of this body, a fund should be allocated by the government that should be only used for creating the awareness among consumers through newspaper, TV commercials, radio and any other social media means.

This type of execution has been done in the past for example 1- promoting egg consumption (Sunday ho yaMonday roj khao ande) by NBCC and second by dairy board to popularise milk. The governing body on organic should be able to run these types of champaign.

 2- This governing body should work as a single window to coordinate among different departments and ministries andremove any road blocks coming in the way of the growth of the organic market. For example Organic Denmark is one such NGO working in Denmark and has the responsibility from sourcing to consumption related initiatives. 
3- Brand India needs to be presented as a natural and organic source in the global market. The moment we start focusing internally, global market automatically becomes available for us and expands.

4- The biggest challenge is to create the trust in the mind of the consumer for the natural and organic and to create the trust awareness, certification the awareness around the certification supported through subsidised testing framework is the key.

5- The government itself could become a big consumer by using organic products in midday meal and their own canteens.

Various countries have shown that Interventions like these have resulted into growth of the market. Denmark has the highest per capita consumption of the organic in the whole world for last 11 years. The penetration of the organic put is 13% in Denmark. India is $450 billion market for organised food retail and a targeted penetration of 2 to 3% in India could result into a 70,000- 80,000 crores market annually.

So ultimately it is the demand that will drive the sourcing. Need of the hour is to create awareness and increase the demand to make organic as sustainable business and win-win for all stake holders.

About Author

By education Pankaj is an Engineering and Management graduate (MDI).  Spent 16 Years in Telecom Industry to established the mobile infrastructure and turned into serial entrepreneur focusing on the consumer side. As an Agripreneur he started Treta Agro 9 years back with a vision to make safe and healthy food more accessible and affordable to the consumer and create sustainable wealth for the farmers by motivating them to adopt organic farming practice with prime working area in Uttarakhand. Working with 4000 plus farmers and believing natural and organic farming as the means to achieve a sustainable living, Pankaj is providing the forward linkage to farmer groups under the brand Just Organik.

 Apart from the responsibility of Managing Director of Treta Agro (P) Ltd. Pankaj is also associated with multiple incubation centres to Mentor and motivate start-ups.

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