The COVID-19 pandemic, in general, has made people realise the importance of good health, wellness, and nutrition. Organic food contains an absence of pesticides and is widely acknowledged for its nutritional benefits, lack of carcinogenic substances, and boosting immunity.  

India’s organic food market has witnessed exponential growth after the pandemic. According to the 2022 survey conducted in 187 countries practising organic agriculture by the international resource data from the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), organic food in India is cultivated in 2.6 Mn hectares, fifth largest in the world. The report further revealed that the share of land used for organic farming in total agriculture land is 1.5%, and in the last ten years, India increased its organic agriculture land under cultivation by 145.1%.The Economic Survey 2022-2023 mentions that India has 4.43 Mn organic farmers, the highest in the world.

As per the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Ministry of Commerce & Industries, Government of India: “India produced around 2.9 Mn MT (2022-23) of certified organic products, which includes all varieties of food products namely Oil Seeds, fibre, Sugar cane, Cereals & Millets, Cotton, Pulses, Aromatic & Medicinal Plants, Tea, Coffee, Fruits, Spices, Dry Fruits, Vegetables, Processed foods etc. The production is not limited to the edible sector but also produces organic cotton fibre, functional food products etc. Among different states, Madhya Pradesh is the largest producer, followed by Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Odisha. In terms of commodities, fiber crops are the single largest category, followed by Oil Seeds, Sugar crops, Cereals and Millets, Medicinal/ Herbal and Aromatic plants, Spices and condiments, Fresh Fruit Vegetable, Pulses, Tea and coffee.”

To sustain and accelerate the growth of the Organic Food Sector in India, the Government of India has taken several initiatives. Some of the prominent steps are mentioned below: 

1. Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), launched in 2015, is an extended component of Soil Health Management (SHM) under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA). PKVY aims at supporting and promoting organic farming, in turn resulting in the improvement of soil health.

The scheme promotes organic farming through the adoption of the organic village by cluster approach (with a minimum of 20 Ha size) and the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) For India (PGS- India) form of organic certification that involves producers and consumers in the process of certification. PGS-India is a locally relevant quality assurance initiative that emphasises the participation of stakeholders and operates outside the frame of third-party certification.

Financial assistance of INR 50,000 per Ha for three years is provided to the farmer. Under PKVY as of 16 November 2022, 32,384 clusters totalling 6.4 Lakh Ha area and 16.1 Lakh farmers have been covered. In addition, 8 States developed their own brands for organic products. So far, INR 1854.01 Cr has been released under the scheme up to 2022-23. Since the launch of the scheme in 2015-16, an area of 11.85 Lakh Ha has been brought under organic farming, and the government intends to add another 6.00 Lakh Ha area to organic through PKVY during the period from 2022-23 to 2025-26

Under this scheme, the government has also initiated a Large Area Certification (LAC) programme since 2020-21 to identify Traditional Organic Areas like hills, islands, tribal or desert belts with no history of GMO and agrochemical use to transform them into certified organic production hubs. The government has certified 14,491 Ha in the Car Nicobar and Nancowry group of islands in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. This area is the first large contiguous territory to be conferred with organic certification under LAC.

2. Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCDNER), which became operational in 2015-16 as a sub-mission under the National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), aims to develop crop commodity-specific organic value chain and address gaps in organic crop production, wild crop harvesting, organic livestock management and processing, etc.

Since 2015-16, under MOVCDNER, 1.73 Lakh Ha area has been covered under organic farming by developing 379 Farmers Producers Organisation (FPOs)/ Farmers Producers Companies (FPCs) involving 1.89 Lakh farmers. In addition, 7 NE States developed their own brands for organic products. So far, INR 919.42 Cr has been released under the scheme.

Under MOVCDNER, financial assistance of INR 10000/Ha for three years is provided for training, handholding and ICS documentation, and farmers are provided assistance of INR 32500/ Ha for 3 years for off-farm/on-farm organic inputs. Under the scheme, need-based assistance is also provided for various components.

3. Jaivik Kheti organic e-commerce portal of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, along with MSTC, directly links farmers with retail as well as bulk buyers. The portal also acts as a knowledge platform, hosting case studies, videos, best farming practices, etc., and links various stakeholders like regional councils, local groups, individual farmers, buyers, government agencies and input suppliers for the all-inclusive development and promotion of organic farming.

4. The National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP), implemented by APEDA, is involved in the accreditation of Certification Bodies, fixing standards for organic production and packaging, promotion of organic farming and marketing etc. With recognition from the accredited certification bodies of India, Indian organic products are accepted by the importing countries.

5. Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Food Processing Industry (PLISFPI) was approved by the Union Cabinet on March 31, 2021, with a budget of INR 10,900 Cr for implementation from 2021-22 to 2026-27. The Scheme was launched to support the creation of global food manufacturing champions. The second component of the scheme stipulates that Innovative/ Organic products of SMEs, including Free Range - Eggs, Poultry Meat, and Egg Products in these segments, are also covered. To further support the growth of the industry, the rules on minimum sales and mandated investment are not applicable to entities selected for making innovative/ organic products. So far, 14 applications have been selected under this category.

6. Support to organic and bio-inputs in the country through schemes like Bhartiya Prakritik Kheti Bio-Input Resource Centres, PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth (PM-PRANAAM), Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBARdhan) scheme, etc are encouraging farmers to use organic fertilisers.

7. Other initiatives like promoting Indian millets, Geographical Indication (GI) tags, and campaigns like vocal for local are also promoting the consumption of organic foods in the country.


Due to the cumulative efforts of the government, in 2021, India's organic products exports surpassed $ 1 Bn, with the United States absorbing 54% of these exports, with organic processed foods being the largest organic export product. Exports to US is followed by the EU and Canada. It is noteworthy that in 2020, India’s organic products market was estimated to be $815 Mn. However, there is still much scope to grow as the global market is over $ 133 Bn.

The US Department of Agriculture estimates that India’s organic products market (encompassing food and beverages, health and wellness, beauty and personal care, and textiles) will grow to $10.1 Bn by 2026.  

India’s organic food sector is an opportunity waiting to be tapped.

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