Certification of organic products is necessary to ensure assured quality, prevent fraud and enable trade of organic food. As people grow more conscious of the food they are consuming, we thought it would help to break down the certification process for you. As of 2019, India had over 3.67 million hectares devoted to organic cultivation. (APEDA) India has the highest number of organic producers in the world, at over 30%. (Pandey and Sengupta, 2018) Most of these are small to medium farms that are struggling because of poor policy support, higher input costs and a limited access to market. We, at Sira, hope to address these challenges by bringing certified organic products straight from these farms to you!
Who’s in charge of the certification?
Certification of organic products in India is regulated by APEDA: the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority. They implement the NPOP: National Program for Organic Production. This program handles the accreditation of certification bodies, sets the standards for organic production, and is involved in the promotion of organic products. NPOP is recognized by the European Commission, Switzerland and USDA as similar to their standards. (APEDA) There are two types of processes that are used for certification of organic products in India: Indian certification agencies and international certification agencies.
How are the farms certified?
‘India Organic’ is the certificate that is issued by the APEDA through various accredited parties for food that is organically grown and processed in India. Jaivik Bharat, a joint program established by the FSSAI, APEDA and PGS-India helps to distinguish organic products from non-organic products. (Jaivik Bharat) The India Organic label ensures the following (Yadav, n.d):
The land is managed organically, and no chemicals have been used for at least 2 years
All (or most) fertilizers and pesticides used are natural
There is a detailed record of production and sales
There is strict separation of certified organic products from non-certified products
The farm undergoes regular on-site inspections
Different Types of Organic Labels:
An organic label is a valuable piece of marketing at this time. Because this is an expensive process, the use of these labels and certifications are closely monitored. Let us take you through these various organic labels, and help you make a more informed decision (Organics, 2016).
100% organic: products that are produced and processed with organic ingredients and methods are allowed to use this label. This is often hard to achieve, and this label can mostly be found on single ingredient products.
Organic: This label can be used by products that contain at least 95% organic ingredients. The remaining 5% should be Non-GMO ingredients. They may also display the organic seal.
Made with Organic Ingredients: These products are made with 70%-95% organic ingredients. These products can display the logo of the certification body that approved them. This label can help companies that are looking to source more sustainable products, and help in the transition to more fully organic content.
Products that use less than 70% or less organic ingredients can mention which of their ingredients are organic, but not make any other claims.
We hope this article has cleared up any questions that you might have had about the certification process! Next time you decide to buy organic produce, you will have a better idea of what kind of organic produce you are consuming. Stay tuned for the next post: on how platforms like Sira help bring back food sovereignty to organic farmers in India!
APEDA. “Organic Products.” Agriculture & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt. of India, http://apeda.gov.in/apedawebsite/organic/Organic_Products.htm. Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.
Jaivik Bharat. https://jaivikbharat.fssai.gov.in/. Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.
TNAU. Organic Certification : Agencies. https://agritech.tnau.ac.in/ta/org_farm/orgfarm_oc%20agencies.html. Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.
Yadav, A. Certification and Inspection Systems in Organic Farming in India . National Center of Organic Farming, https://ncof.dacnet.nic.in/Training_manuals/Training_manuals_in_English/Cert_and_Inspection_manual.pdf. Accessed 14 Jan. 2021.
Pandey, Kiran, and Rajit Sengupta. “India Has the Highest Number of Organic Farmers Globally, but Most of Them Are Struggling.” Down To Earth, 2 Aug. 2018, https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/india-has-the-highest-number-of-organic-farmers-globally-but-most-of-them-are-struggling-61289.
Soi, Sangeeta. “How to Get ‘India Organic’ Certification.” Krishi Jagran, https://krishijagran.com/agripedia/how-to-get-india-organic-certification/. Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.
Organics, Global. “4 Categories of Organic Product Labels.” Global Organics News & Views, 29 Mar. 2016, https://www.global-organics.comhttps://www.global-organics.com/post.php?s=2016-03-29-4-categories-of-organic-product-labels.