Organic Farming in India - Meaning, Types and Benefits

03 May 2023
Organic Farming in India - Meaning, Types and Benefits Article
Organic farming is a sustainable way of doing agriculture across the world. Organic farming practice cuts the usage of chemical and fertilizers and increase the use of organic manure in growing crops. It helps maintain the soil health and promotes healthy living in the long run.

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India is an agricultural country that contributes a major share in the world food production. The traditional farming methods practiced in India have been replaced by modern farming methods using chemical fertilizers and pesticides to achieve maximum yields of crops. But the conventional farming method is harming the environment and the quality of food we consume. As a result, there has been a gradual shift towards the concept of organic farming in India in recent years. It is a more sustainable farming practice that promotes the use of natural resources and soil conservation techniques to ensure a healthy ecosystem that can benefit both the environment and the farmers. 

Through the sections given below, let us understand everything about organic farming in India, its methods, advantages, limitations, and projects that promote organic farming in India.

What is Organic Farming?

The term was coined by Lord Northbourne in the 1940s. Talking about organic farming definition, it is a method of farming that relies on natural resources such as crop rotation, organic manure, and biological pest control instead of synthetic chemicals to grow crops. The objective of organic farming is sustainability, protection of the environment, and the preservation of soil health. In essence, organic farming is a holistic approach that aims not only to produce food but also to promote healthy living.

Components of Organic Farming

The main component of organic farming involves the following:

Organic manures: These natural manures are derived from animal, plant, and human residues.

Biological pest management: This involves controlling pests through use of living organisms.

Non-chemical weed control: This control method relies on physical action to restrict the growth of weeds. The physical action involves manual removal, burning, and smothering weeds.

Agronomical practices: This involves farming practices like crop rotation, and soil management, among others.

Alley cropping: In this method, row of trees or shrubs are planted to create alleys, within which crops are grown.

Process of Organic Farming

Organic farming follows several natural farming practices, including crop rotation, use of organic manure, biological pest control, and natural weeding. The main process involved in organic farming are:

Preparation of Soil

The first step in organic farming is the preparation of soil. The soil is the foundation of the crop, and it needs to be rich in nutrients to support healthy growth. In organic farming, the soil is prepared by adding organic matter such as manure, compost, and green manure. The organic matter helps to improve soil structure and increase the water-holding capacity of the soil.

Seed Selection

Organic farmers use only organic seeds that are free from GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and synthetic chemicals. Organic seeds are produced through natural methods of pollination, crossbreeding, and selection. These seeds are adapted to local conditions, which makes them more resilient and productive.

Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is an essential practice in organic farming. It involves growing different crops in the same field in a planned sequence. This helps to improve soil fertility, reduce pest and disease problems, and increase crop yields. Crop rotation also helps to break the life cycles of pests and diseases, which reduces the need for chemical pesticides.

Natural Pest Control

Organic farmers use natural predators, such as ladybugs, lacewings, and praying mantis, to control pests. They also use crop diversification and intercropping to reduce pest and disease problems. These practices help to maintain a natural balance in the ecosystem, which reduces the need for chemical pesticides.


It involves the decomposition of organic matter, such as kitchen waste, crop residues, and manure, to create a nutrient-rich compost. As a result, the soil fertility improves, water holding capacity of soil increases, and growth of beneficial microorganisms take place in the soil.

Weed Control

In organic farming, weed control is managed through natural methods such as hand-weeding, mulching, and intercropping. These methods help to suppress weed growth and reduce the need for chemical herbicides. Mulching means covering the soil with organic matter, such as straw or leaves, to suppress weed growth and conserve soil moisture.


Harvesting is the final step in organic farming. Organic farmers harvest crops at the right time to ensure maximum yield and quality. They use manual methods of harvesting, such as handpicking and cutting, to reduce damage to the crops. After harvesting, crops are stored in a cool and dry place to prevent spoilage.

Types of Organic Farming

Organic farming is broadly of two types, namely pure organic farming, and integrated organic farming. Let us see briefly about these two types:

Pure Organic Farming: In this type, use of all unnatural chemicals and fertilisers are completely reduced. The farmers fulfill their fertiliser and pesticides need from natural sources.

Integrated Organic Farming: In this type, an integrated approach is adopted for pest and nutrient management. The objective is to meet economy demands as well as ecological standards.

Organic Farming in India

India has been practicing organic farming methods for centuries; however, the interest in organic farming methods in India has grown in recent years, mainly due to its numerous benefits. The scope of organic farming in India is immense as it is not only better for our health and the environment, but it also saves farmers money on inputs such as pesticides and fertilizer. Organic farming in India has gained popularity, especially in areas of high agricultural productivity, including Maharashtra, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.

Organic farming in India is supported by national policies and initiatives, including the National Programme on Organic Production (NPOP). The program accredits organic production units and promotes organic farming practices in the country. The government has also established a certification system to enable farmers to market their organic produce both nationally and internationally.

Markets for Organic Products in India

Organic farming products have gained immense popularity in India in recent years, as more and more consumers become aware of the benefits of organic products. The market for organic farming products in India has been growing steadily, and it is estimated to reach INR 87.1 billion by 2024, according to a report by Research and Markets.

The demand for organic farming products in India is driven by several factors, including health consciousness among consumers, rising disposable income, and increasing awareness about the benefits of organic products. Organic farming products are considered as healthier and safer for consumption as they do not have harmful chemicals and pesticides.

The market for organic farming products in India is dominated by food products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, dairy products, and spices. According to a report by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the demand for organic food products in India has been growing at a rate of 20-25% per annum.

Apart from food products, there is also a growing demand for organic textiles, cosmetics, and personal care products in India. Organic cotton and silk products have gained popularity in recent years, and many textile manufacturers in India are now producing organic textiles. Similarly, there is a growing demand for organic personal care products, such as shampoos, soaps, and lotions, which are free from harmful chemicals and synthetic fragrances.

The market for organic farming products in India is not only driven by domestic demand but also by exports. India is among the largest exporters of organic farming products in the world, and it exports organic products to countries such as the France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Observing the growing importance and use of organic farming in India, the government of India has taken several initiatives to promote organic farming and organic farming products in the country. The National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) was launched in 2001 to regulate organic farming practices and promote certification. The government has also introduced several schemes and incentives to encourage farmers to adopt organic farming practices and increase their income.

Organic Farming Projects in India

Several organic farming projects have been initiated in India to promote organic farming and help farmers adopt organic farming practices. The Government of India launched the National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF) in 2004. The project aimed to promote the production of organic food, increase organic area under cultivation, and train farmers on organic farming practices.

Sikkim Organic Mission

One of the most successful organic farming projects in India is the Sikkim Organic Mission. Sikkim, a state in northeast India, became India's first state to be declared entirely organic in 2016. The state government recognising the need of organic farming initiated the Sikkim Organic Mission in 2003, with an aim to promote organic farming in the state. The government gave assistance to farmers who wanted to convert their farms to organic ones, including inputs such as organic manure, seeds, and natural pest repellents. The organic mission has seen a significant increase in both organic farming area and the production of organic food.

Tamil Nadu Organic Farming Project (TNOFP)

Another successful organic farming project in India is the Tamil Nadu Organic Farming Project (TNOFP). Launched in 2010, the project aimed to increase agricultural productivity while ensuring environmental conservation, farmer livelihood, and rural development. The project has seen over six thousand farmers in Tamil Nadu adopt organic farming practices.

Benefits of Organic Farming

The importance of organic farming in India can be gauged from the fact benefit organic farming offers over the conventional farming methods. The top 10 benefits of organic farming are:

  1. It is eco-friendly and supports sustainable agriculture.
  2. Organic produce, free of synthetic chemicals, is healthier and safer for consumption.
  3. This farming method promote soil fertility and soil health, which help to conserve the environment.
  4. It promotes biodiversity, including beneficial insects, birds, and soil organisms.
  5. Organic farming is cost-effective for farmers since it reduces the cost of inputs.
  6. It creates a healthier farming system that benefits both the environment and human health.
  7. It creates a habitat that attracts beneficial insects and animals that help control pests and pollinate crops.
  8. It promotes better animal welfare, providing consumers with meat and dairy products that come from animals raised in a humane and ethical manner. 
  9. Farmers need not to invest costly pesticides and fertilisers, instead of this they can use cheaper and local inputs for enhancement of the agricultural production.
  10. A natural resistance is created to control pests and diseases. The productivity of crops is improved as the use of synthetic products is eliminated.

Disadvantages of Organic Farming

Having understood the advantages of organic farming, let us see some of the disadvantages of organic farming or limitations of it. These are:


One of the biggest disadvantages of organic farming is that it can be more labour-intensive and costly than traditional industrial agriculture. Because organic farmers cannot rely on synthetic chemicals to control pests and fertilize crops, they often rely on alternative methods such as crop rotation, cover crops, and natural predators. This can require more time and effort on the part of the farmers, leading to higher labour costs.

Less Productive

In addition, organic farming is often less productive than conventional farming methods, which can lead to lower yields and higher costs for consumers. This is because organic farmers must rely on natural fertilizers such as compost and manure, which are less concentrated and less effective than synthetic fertilizers.

Not Suitable for All Crops

This is not a disadvantage, rather it is one of the limitations of organic farming. It may not be suitable for all types of crops and environments. Some crops may be more susceptible to pests and diseases, which can make it difficult to grow them without the use of chemical pesticides. And in some regions, natural fertilizers such as compost may not be readily available, making it more difficult for farmers to maintain healthy soil and promote crop growth.

Despite these limitations of organic farming, it continues to grow in popularity as consumers become more aware of the environmental and health benefits of this approach. With careful planning and management, organic farmers can overcome many of these challenges and produce high-quality, sustainable crops that are healthier for both people and the planet.


Organic farming is a sustainable and eco-friendly method of farming that has tremendous benefits to farmers, consumers, and the environment. It is essential now more than ever to embrace organic farming practices to ensure a healthy future and conserve the environment. Organic farming projects in India are helping farmers adopt organic farming practices while promoting organic produce both nationally and internationally. The government is supporting organic farming in India, which has seen a gradual shift from conventional farming methods to organic ones. Organic farming in India deserves recognition and support to ensure that it continues to thrive and benefit farmers, consumers, and the environment.

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