Between 2019-20 and 2021-22, a total of 1,978,460.38 million tonnes (mt) of organic products valued at $2,480.24 million were exported. About 50 per cent of these exports went to the US while 37 per cent went to the European Union (EU).

Canada and the Great Britain were the next largest export destinations for Indian organic produce. The US and EU together comprise 87 per cent (in value) of the market. Interestingly, India exported 1,062.15 mt organic produce to China at the value of $2.37 million during these three years.

Covid impact

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, with increased awareness of organic foods, people are inclining more towards these products. The demand has been especially good since the advent of Covid-19, in the domestic and overseas markets. Value of exports of these products registered a 51 per cent increase in 2020-21, though it moderated in 2021-22.

Organic products are grown under a system of agriculture without the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides with an environmentally and socially responsible approach. Among the top 10 organic produces that India exported in the last three years are processed food, oil seeds, cereals and millets, sugar, spices and condiments, pulses, tea, fodder and coffee.

On an average, India’s organic product export is valued at $827 million every year, show data by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Currently, 59.12 lakh hectares area has already been brought under organic farming in India as certified by the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) and Participatory Guarantee System (PGS). India ranks fourth in terms of certified area globally, according to a report published by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) Statistics 2022.

Global demand 

The World of Organic Agriculture – Stastics and Emerging Trends 2021, published by FiBL and IFOAM – Organics International, states that organic foods were first introduced on a large scale in early 1990. It took over 15 years for global organic product sales to reach $50 billion in 2008. Ten years later, they surpassed the $100 billion-mark. “With Covid-19 changing the way we shop and eat, the next leap to $150 billion could possibly be within the next few years,” said the report.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It emphasises the use of management practices in preference to the use of off-farm inputs, taking into account that regional conditions require locally adapted systems. This is accomplished by using, where possible, agronomic, biological and mechanical methods, as opposed to using synthetic materials, to fulfill any specific function within the system.