The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare recently announced that around 14,491 hectares of land in Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been certified as organic.
- This is the first large contiguous territory to be certified under government scheme.
- The organic certification has been given under the Large Area Certification (LAC) Scheme of the PGS-India (Participatory Guarantee System) certification programme.
- The Government of India has certified 14,491 ha of such area under Car Nicobar and Nancowry group of islands in A&N Islands.
About LAC Scheme:
- Under the scheme, each village is considered as one cluster or group.
- All the farmers have to adhere to the standard requirements without the need to undergo a conversion period to get certified.
- Certification is renewed on annual basis through verification by a process of peer appraisals as per the process of PGS-India.
- This was launched under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana.
- The administration of Union Territory in collaboration with local communities prepared the island-wise and farmer wise database of land holding, practices being adopted, input usage history among others.
Basically, under the standard norms of organic production systems, the areas with chemical input usage history will have to undergo a transition period of two to three years to get qualified as organic. This transition period has been removed under the Large Certification Scheme.
Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana:
- The scheme was launched in 2014 to promote natural farming.
- At present, there are more than 30 lakh hectares of registered areas holding organic certification.
- Currently, India ranks fifth in terms of area under natural farming and first in terms of total number of producers.
What is Participatory Guarantee Scheme?
- It is a scheme that certifies organic products.
- The scheme is implemented by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare.
- The certification is in the form of statement or logo. The certification is issued based on the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations.
- These regulations were notified by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in 2017.