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Organic livestock opens new vistas of opportunities for Indian farmers
Wednesday, 20 July, 2022, 15 : 00 PM [IST]
Abhishek Negi
The pandemic has certainly brought in a major impact on how people across the country consume their food. Consciousness is rising and with an enhanced focus on health and safety, consumers are now more inclined towards having foods that are produced naturally and are safe and healthy to consume. This change in the consumers’ attitude and lifestyle has prompted the growth of organic food production and marketing in India. This has also encouraged the legislation to improve the safety standards for food and the consumers are willing to pay more for quality food.

The conventional livestock production is often criticised with concerns over food safety and the overall animal health; thereby increasing consumers’ demand for foods free of antibiotics and animal additives. Organic livestock farming hence emerged as an effective alternative to conventional farming. In India, there has been an increasing demand for organic foods like organic tea and spices, flour, breakfast cereals, fruits, vegetable, and many others. Now, there is a gradual rise in organic livestock products too, milk, meat and eggs being the most consumed in present times. Apart from the health and welfare of the animals, organic livestock farming also ensures health benefits for the consumers and generates profit for the farmers while maintaining environmental sustainability.

According to survey, presently 186 countries across the world are involved in organic farming and the total organic farmland throughout the globe covers an area of more than 71.5 million hectare. In India the total area of organic farmland is over 1.5 lakh hectare. Being one of the largest livestock sectors, India accounts for almost 12 per cent of the total livestock population of the world.

While the organic crop production and certification system is well-established in India, the organic livestock and poultry sector is also steadily growing. Various organisations and research institutes in the country like Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) have extensively been promoting organic livestock farming and working on easing the certification process.

With the organic farming sector in nascent stage and growing steadily in India, it opens a new vista of opportunities for entrepreneurs in all spheres of its value chain including production, certification, value addition, marketing and consumption. The organic products in the market come with premium pricing as its target audience is wellness conscious and won’t hesitate to pay some extra bucks for healthy and quality products. This increases the profit margin of all players in the organic value chain.

The sector also holds an array of opportunities for the veterinarians who are specialised in both traditional and ethno-veterinary practices. The steady growth of the sector has also opened opportunities for others directly or indirectly connected with the organic livestock farming sector like organic certification agencies, inspection executives, organic livestock production process advisors, organic product quality testing, wholesale and retail marketing, establishment of organic product outlets, and export of organic meat, organic milk, and organic eggs.

(The author is co-founder Eggoz Nutrition)
 
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