ORGANIC UNION TERRITORY

CONTEXT:
Entire Lakshadweep group of islands has been declared as an organic agricultural area under the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) of India.

PARTICIPATORY GUARANTEE SYSTEM:

  • PGS is a process of certifying organic products, which ensures that their production takes place in accordance with laid-down quality standards.
  • The certification is in the form of a documented logo or a statement.
  • It is implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
  • It is only for farmers or communities that can organise and perform as a group within a village or a cluster of contiguous villages, and is applicable
  • only to farm activities such as crop production, processing, and livestock rearing, and off-farm processing “by PGS farmers of their direct products”.

IMPORTANT POINTS:

  • Lakshadweep is the first Union Territory to become 100% organic as all farming is carried out without the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, providing access to safer food choices and making agriculture a more environmentally-friendly activity.
  • Earlier in 2016, Sikkim became India’s first “100 percent organic” State.
  • The entire 32 square kilometre geographical land area of the UT was declared as organic after receiving required certifications and declarations under Centre’s Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (organic farming improvement programme).

BACKGROUND:
Earlier, the UT administration had imposed a formal uniform ban on sale, use and entry of synthetic chemicals for agriculture purposes from October 2017 onwards to make the islands a chemical-free zone.

Benefits:

  • Better marketing of organic products such as desiccated coconut and coconut milk.
  • The organic tag will allow farmers to realize a premium for the farm produce.
  • The island’s coconut farmers are also expected to benefit from the Union government’s ‘One District One Product’ programme of food processing.
  • Under it the entire island is being considered as a single district and coconut oil has been identified as the product.

Cropping Pattern:

  • Coconut is the only major crop on the islands and remains idle for six months.
  • The coconut processing industry works only for about six months. The period between May and December sees the industry come to a standstill.
  • The island administration plans to introduce dryers and other machinery to utilise the nuts even during this standstill period.

Organic Farming
According to FSSAI, ’organic farming’ is a system of farm design and management to create an ecosystem of agriculture production without the use of synthetic external inputs such as chemical fertilisers, pesticides and synthetic hormones or genetically modified organisms.

GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES:

1.Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY):
The scheme promotes cluster based organic farming with certification. Cluster formation, training, certification and marketing are supported under the scheme.

2.Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region :
The scheme promotes 3 party certified organic farming of niche crops of the north east region through Farmers Producer organizations (FPOs) with focus on exports.

3.Capital investment Subsidy Scheme (CISS) under Soil Health Management Scheme:
100% assistance is provided to State Government/Government agencies for setting up of mechanized fruit/vegetable market waste/agro waste compost production unit.

4.National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP):
Financial assistance@ 50% subsidy to the tune of Rs. 300/ha is being provided for different components including bio-fertilizers.

5.National Food Security Mission (NFSM): Financial assistance is provided for promotion of Bio-Fertilizer. Lakshadweep India’s smallest Union Territory, Lakshadweep is an archipelago consisting of 36 islands with an area of 32 sq km.

There are three main group of islands:

  1. Amindivi Islands
  2. Laccadive Islands
  3. Minicoy Island.
  • Amindivi Islands are the northernmost while the Minicoy island is the southern most.All are tiny islands of coral origin (Atoll) and are surrounded by fringing reefs.
  • The Capital is Kavaratti and it is also the principal town of the UT.

SOURCE: PIB

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