After declaration of Uttarakhand as Organic State during the year 2001, the conversion of farms from no organic to organic mode have been increasing rapidly and also the demand for certified organic products for domestic as well as export markets has also increased. In this scenario the "Organic Certification" has become an essential tool for organic farming in the state. "Certification is a verification process of determining that the products said to be organic are incompliance with a defined criteria for organic production." In order to building trust of consumer in organics and organic markets certification has greatly helped.
Role Of UOCB In Organic Certification
UOCB is not directly involve in organic certification as certification is carried out by independent agencies that are accredited by APEDA, government of India (for certification as per Indian Organic Standard - NPOP only) and similar authority of other countries (e.g. for certification as per American Standard - NOP ,the agency must be accredited by U.S. government). These agencies are known as external certification agencies. Presently there are 11 organic certification agencies working in India.
Challenges For Certification In Uttarakhand
A majority of agriculture practitioners in Uttarakhand are smallholders.
They are having fragmented land holding.
They are often located in remote areas with long travel times from one place to another.
The over all revenue from their agricultural production is usually far too small to cover the cost of farm inspection by external inspection body for each farmer
Notable Achievements of UOCB
UOCB has been able to popularize the concept not only within the state but also outside specially to the other mountain states. There is a constant visit list of farmers, officers and NGO for learning the Uttarakhand experience. Within the state a number of voluntary organizations have included the organic farming in their programs. Models where in the production to markets (complete supply chain) under the organic systems have been established at several places. The commodities where substantial progress has taken place is in Basmati, Mandua (finger millets), chillies, other spice, wheat, pulses, traditional rice, perishables like vegetables etc. These models now need to be multiplied and up scaled. Product Development of mandua ( finger millet) as an ingredient in the India Mix, a product for the mid day meal under the ICDS program was done where the use of mandua has been standardized with the World Food Program (WFP) thus creating a market of 1000 metric tons of mandua in the market. Similarly organic products from tribal. Organic Dehraduni Basmati from Dehradun which has dwindled in the past was promoted as an export organic product, together with the basmati regions in US Nager a market potential of 2000 hectares has been created, with a potential for further extension.