India’s national organic policy to be revised, monitoring to be bolstered

The policies and procedures of India’s National  Organic Production Program (NPOP) are being reviewed and  will include measures to strengthen the monitoring system, the commerce ministry told the Chennai-based Voluntary Service Organization. As per  NAB (National Accreditation Board) guidelines, a committee will be set up to review the policy and procedures of NPOP”,  the Ministry told  Shree Shree Shree Swami Vivekananda Trust (SSVT). Feedback received from  stakeholders, including confidential ones, will be forwarded to  SSVT -ministry responded, July 8 letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking for “honest introspection to reform the organic enforcement system”. SSVT said a recent review by the European Commission highlighted 2001 as one of the best policy and procedural documents . 

 “It is also a fact that the inspection of the European Commission indicated deficiencies in our organic agriculture. The trust wrote letters on January 5, February 7 and April 8 highlighting many lapses to protect Bharati’s interests. There was an immediate need to appoint qualified inspectors who, in addition to APEDA, would carry out due diligence and organic enforcement  at the level of certification bodies. This helps to protect and preserve the label and authenticity of organic products in the country. SSVT emphasized the need for due diligence due to repeated violations of the rules, while some units repeatedly violated (changing the names of promoters and units) organic farming certificates. 

 Aadhaar connection 

 Referring to  allegations of duplicating farmers’ efforts in growing organic produce, Commerce Ministry’s Verma said the Agriculture and Processed Food  Development Authority (APEDA) is taking steps to link Aadhaar land records with the online system to strengthen the system According to business sources, the ministry has been talking about such ties for some time, but nothing has happened yet.  SSVT said the role of APEDA, the nodal agency for organic exports, as secretariat and review committee is crucial to facilitate NAB’s decision-making process. “Of the 36 members of the evaluation committee, it is interesting to note that 10 members belong to APEDA and the Commodity Board. However, the minister said that the organic certification process follows internationally determined procedures. 

 Transition of the Minister of Agriculture 

 However, the trust said that since the audit committee was a pillar of NPOP implementation, its selection indicated a “weak and fragile approach to the institutional framework at this level”. The announcement by the Ministry of Commerce completes the transition of the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture. In February this year, the ministry announced plans to introduce a new certification system for organic cotton and its derivatives as part of  efforts to boost India’s exports. India’s organic exports have been under pressure as various shortages in the supply of organic products have been reported from abroad, particularly the European Union.

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