Orgnanic trade fair to be held from Nov 29

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New Delhi, Oct 8 (UNI) The India Organic Trade Fair-2007 will be held here from November 29 in association with the Agriculture and Commerce Ministeries to showcase their world class organic farm products as their cultivation has now been extended over 1.70 lakh hectres with more and more Indian farmers opting for it.

The four-day fair is being organised by the International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture(ICCOA), India's premier knowledge and learning centre for organic agriculture and agribusiness. It will provide a platform to organic farmers in India, as well as various stakeholders , policy makers, traders and enterpreneurs eager to make a foray into the organic food industry.

India has already laid down a legal frame-work for standardisation of organic farm products and has about half a dozen accredited agencies for their certification. This certification is approved by the US, the European Union and Switzerland which account for 90 per cent of the global trade in organic products, said Mr K S Money, chairman of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Deveopment Authority (APEDA), WHICH works under the Commerce Ministry.

India exported more than Rs 100 crore worth of ogranic products last year and expects that exports would touch Rs 250-300 crore by next year, said Mr Money while speaking at press meet during the inaugeration of the fair.

The Agriculture Ministry had already launched a National Project in Orgnanic farming in October, 2004 to promote trade organic farming which saw the area covered by it increase from a mere 17,000 hectares in 2004 to 1,70,000 hectares this year, said Dr A K Yadav, Director of National Centre for Organic Farming(NCOF).

Mr Yadav said growing crops without the use of chemicals and fertilizers would not produce organic products as per the world standards but there is a need of a holistic, organic approach to farming. India, however, has a strong tradition of organic farming but international standards are stringent and has to be followed to make a niche in the international market, he added.

The farmers' representatives expressed concern that importing countries were imposing non-tariff barriers like ethical production without the use of child labour.

APEDA director Mr S Dave said certification in India now did not require any further evaluation in the importing countries as Indian standards had been accepted by the US and European countries.

India has already introduced 'group certification' which the US is now planning to implement, he added.

The ICCOA is organising its third fair this year. The first one was held in Bangalore in 2005. Atleast 20 countries are expected to participate this year alongwith domestic entrepreneurs from all over India.

In the last fair, trade queries of Rs 85 crore were generated with attendence from delegations from 16 countries and 23 Indian states.

UNI

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