The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had reduced the certification norms for small organic producers or producer organizations giving them relief.
- As per the relaxed norms, small producers or producer organizations who have an annual turnover of less than Rs. 12 lakhs can now sell their produce as organic directly to the end consumer without any certification till April 1, 2020.
- Till now, any organic producer in the country must have a certification of either National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) or Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India)to sell organic food in the country.
- FSSAI has now directed its State Food Safety Officers to not prosecute and consider the new rules as enabling regulations to sell organic produce.
- Also, the regulations for organic food aggregator and intermediaries have also been relaxed.
- Now, aggregators or intermediaries who have a sales turnover of organic produce not exceeding Rs. 50 lakh per annum do not need any certification.
- This is to enable small farmers who cannot sell small quantities of their organic produce to the end consumers, to sell to aggregators.
- As per the new norms, the small organic producers and aggregators will not bear the Jaivik Bharat Logo.
- Further, FSSAI clearly mentioned that the rules are not applicable to organic food retail companies.
- But, the state food safety officers must ensure that farmers must adhere to standards for producing organic produce.
National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) :-
- Organic products are produced through chemical-free agriculture.
- It helps in preserving soil health, producing nutritious food, plant resistance to diseases, etc.
- The NPOP was initiated by the Ministry of Industries and Commerce for assisting organic producers to market their products in domestic and international markets.
- It is being implemented since 2001.
- The objectives of the programme are:
1. Accrediting programme for certification bodies
2. Setting standards for organic production
3. Facilitating certification as per the standards of the importing countries.
4. Encouraging and developing organic farming and processing in the country.
- Already, the standards of NPOP for unprocessed plant products are recognized by the European Commission, USDA, and Switzerland as equivalent to their own standards.
- The Agriculture & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APDEA) is the implementing agency for the programme.
Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India) :-
- PGS-India is to provide access to small and marginal farmers to get certify their products as organic.
- It is being implemented by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture.
- This certification is relevant only to the domestic market.
- If the farmer wants to enter into exporting the produce, then he/she should adhere to the framework of a third-party system of certification.
- This certification system is being supported by the Paramaparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) scheme.
Jaivik Bharat Logo :-
- The Jaivik Bharat logo distinguishes organic food from non-organic ones.
- The logo is green in color symbolizing nature and showing that these foods are produced without using chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
- The letter “O” in the logo represents the word “Organic”. It also represents holistic health at a global platform.
- The leaves in the logo form a tick mark incorporated inside the circle represented by the letter “O”.
- The product bearing the logo showcases that it has been authenticated as organic for the choice for consumption.
- The move by the FSSAI is definitely going to help many farmers in the country to sell their organic produce easily without waiting for three years to get the certification.
- Also, the new norms will enable many farmers to take to organic farming and become profitable.
- FSSAI is also looking into relaxing the norms under PGS-India to further promote organic farming in the country.