According to the latest FiBL-IFOAM survey on certified organic agriculture worldwide, as of the end of 2012, data on organic agriculture are available from 164 countries (up from 162 in 2011)

There were 37.5 million hectares of organic agricultural land in 2012, including in-conversion areas. The regions with the largest areas of organic agricultural land are Oceania (12.2 million hectares, 32 percent of the world's organic agricultural land) and Europe (11.2 million hectares, 30 percent). Latin America has 6.8 million hectares (18 percent) followed by Asia (3.2 billion hectares, 9 percent), North America (3 million hectares, 8 percent) and Africa (1.1 million hectares, 3 percent). The countries with the most organic agricultural land are Australia (12 million hectares), Argentina (3.6 million hectares), and the United States (2.2 million hectares).

For the detailed results of the FiBL-IFOAM survey, see page 34. Currently 0.9 percent of the agricultural land of the countries covered by the survey is organic. By region, the highest shares of the total' agricultural land are in Oceania (2.9 percent) and in Europe (2.3 percent). In the European Union, 5.6 percent of the farmland is organic. However, some countries reach far higher shares: Falkland Islands, 36.3 percent; Liechtenstein, 29.6 percent; Austria, 19.7 percent. In tern countries, more than ten percent of the agricultural land is organic.

In 2012, the organic agricultural land increased by almost 0.2 million hectares or 0.5 percent. There has been an increase of the organic agricultural land in Africa and Europe; in Europe the area grew by 0.6 million hectares (6 percent). In Asia, there was a major drop in organic land in 2012; 0.47 million hectares less were reported. in Latin America, the organic land decreased, mainly due to a decrease of organic grazing areas in Argentina.

Apart from agricultural land, there are further organic areas, most of these being areas for wild collection. Other areas include aquaculture, forests and grazing areas on non-agricultural land. The areas of non-agricultural land constitute more than 31 million hectares. In total, 69 million hectares (agricultural and non-agricultural areas) are organic.

There were more than 1.9 million producers in 2012. Thirty -six percent of the world's organic producers are in Asia, followed by Africa (30 percent) and Europe (17 percent). The countries with the most producers are India (600'000), Uganda (189'610), and Mexico (169'707). About one third of the world's agricultural land (10.8 million hectares) and more than 80 percent (1.6 million) of the producers are in developing countries and emerging markets.

Land use details were availabe for almost 90 percent of the organic agricultural land. Unfortunately, some countries with very large organic areas, such as Australia, Brazil, and India had little or no information on their land use. Almost two-thirds of the agricultural land was grassland/grazing areas (22.5 million hectares). With a total of at least 7.5 million hectares, arable land constitutes almost 20 percent of the organic agricultural land. An increase of three percent over 2011 was reported. Most of this category of land is used for cereals, including rice (3.1 million hectares), followed by green fodder from arable land (2.3 million hectares), oilseeds (0.6 million hectares), protein crops (0.3 million hectares), and vegetables (0.2 million hectares).

Permanent crops account for approximately seven percent of the organic agricultural land, amounting to 3.2 million hectares. Compared with the revised data of the previous survey, the permanent cropland showed an increase of 10 percent, after remaining steady the previous three years. The most important permanent crops are coffee (with almost 0.7 million hectares, constituting almost one quarter of the organic permanent cropland), followed by olives (0.6 million hectares), nuts and graps (0.3 million hectares each), and cocoa (0.21 million hectares).

Most of wild collection area (including areas for beekeeping) is in Europe (35 percent of the global total) and Africa (32 percent). Not much detail is available on the crops harvested. Berries,medicinal and aromatic plants, and fruit are among the most important crops.

Source :
Dr. Helga Willer, Research Institute of Organic Agriculutre (FiBL), Frick, Switzerland, www.fibl.org
Julia Lernoud, Research Institute of Organic Agriculutre (FiBL), Frick, Switzerland, www.fibl.org
FiBL & IFOAM (2014) The World of Organic Agriculture 2014, Frick and Bonn

ORGANIC FARMING IN INDIA (RELEVANCE AND STATISTICS)

Organic Farming is not new to Indian Farming Community, several forms of organic farming are being sucessfully practiced in diverse climate, particularly in rainfed, tribal, mountaines and hill areas of the country. Much of the forrest produce of economic importance like herbs, medicinal plants etc by default come under the category.

Organic farming has received considerable attention in India and recently, Only 35% of India's total cultivable area is covered with fertilizers where irrigation facilities are available and in the remaining 65% of arable land, which is mainly rain-fed, negligible amount of fertilizers is being used. Farmers in these areas often use organic manure as a source of nutrients that are readily available either in their own farm or in their locality. The northeastern region of India provides considerable opportunity for organic farming due to least utilization of chemical inputs. It is estimated that 18 million hectare of such land is available in the North East, which can be exploited for organic production. With the sizable acreage under naturally organic/default organic cultivation, India has tremendous potential to grow crops organically and emerge as a major supplier of organic products in the world's organic market.

The Govt. of India, constituted a Task Force on Organic Farming under the chairmanship of Kunwarji Bhai Yadav. In its report the committee emphasized on the need for consolidating information on organic farming and its benefits. One of the steering committees constituted by this Task Force under the Chairmanship of M.S.Swaminathan, Chairman, National Commission on Farmers, Govt. of India. has suggested taking up organic farming as a challenging task and as a thrust area of the 10th Five Year Plan. The steering committee advocated to give boost to organic farming in the rainfed areas and in the northeastern states, where there is limited use of agricultural chemicals.

Madhya Pradesh took early lead in this regard and Uttaranchal followed suit in declaring themselves as organic states. The National Academy of Agricultural Sciences organized a workshop on ongoing farming at New Delhi. Also, the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai in collaboration with Ohio State University, USA had recently organized a Project Design Workshop on Sustainable Use of Natural Resources in India at New Delhi, with a full day session on organic farming. The major outcome of these two workshops was that organic farming was to be practised in niche areas on selected crops to be identified by the authorities and others having stakes in it.

India is bestowned with lot of potential to produce all varieties of organic products due to its various agro climate regions. In several parts of the country, the inherited tradition of organic farming is an added advantage. This holds promise for the organic producers to tap the market which is growing steadily in the domestic market related to the export market. Currently, India ranks 33rd in terms of total land under organic cultivation and 88th position for agriculture land under organic crops to total farming area. The cultivated land under certification is around 2.8 million ha (2007-08, 1.9% of the GCA). Thhis includes 1 million ha under cultivation and the rest is under forest area (wild collection) (APEDA, 2010). According to current statistics on organic farming, the area under organic certification (including wild harvest) during 2013-14 is 47.20 Lakh ha. The State occupying top position with respect of area under organic certification are Madhta Pradesh (17.58 lakh ha.). Himachal Pradesh (16.68 lakh ha), Rajasthan (5.99 lakh ha) and Udher Pradesh 1.12 lakh ha., Kerala has 15,162 ha. under organic certification.

India can greatly benefit from the export of organic foods, but needs to seriously devote attention to market intelligence regarding which products to grow, where to sell, distribution channels, competition market access, etc. Pre-harvest prices should be announced, so that farmers do not suffler when the produce is ready. Contractual farming for select crops by commercial organizations could be another avenue.

Organic farming is a market demand - oriented, highly specialized small sector of Indian agriculture, which if well planned and executed can become and important foreign-exchange earner for the country and money-spinner for the farmers.

Courtesy :
*National Seminar on Organic Agriculture organized by Reserve Bank of India, College of Agricultural Banking in association with Ernakulam, Palakkad and Idukki Dist. Co-op. Bank (Paper presented by - Rajendra Prasad) 2006*
**Economic Review 2015, Kerala State Planning Board.