To ease the procedure for export and reduce the financial burden on producers and exporters due to multiple certifications as per regulation of various countries, APEDA has been negotiating with major organic produce importing countries for mutual recognition.
Canada is in the process of designating India’s agri export promotion agency Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) as a ‘conformity verification body’, which will help Indian certified organic produce to get recognition, potentially boosting exports, APEDA said.
“We are negotiating with Japan, Australia, UAE, New Zealand and China for mutual recognition with their organic standards. This will help our certified organic products to have direct access to these markets without going through another round of certification process separately in the importing country,” APEDA chairman M Angamuthu said.
Negotiations with Taiwan for mutual recognition are at a concluding stage, while with South Korea they are at an advanced stage, he said.
Currently, 32 certification bodies are accredited under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) run by APEDA, of which 12 are state government agencies and the remaining 20 are in the private sector. The certification bodies can operate anywhere in the country, as no regional demarcation has been granted to them.
The NPOP standards have been recognised as equivalent to the regulations of European Commission and Switzerland for unprocessed plant products. India is already negotiating a bilateral agreement with the European Union.
When the NPOP standards were launched in 2001, they were limited to crops and processed food. However, sensing the overseas demand, the government allowed certification of livestock, poultry, apiculture and aquaculture. Apeda has recently launched standards for organic textiles, cosmetics and personal care products on voluntary basis.
India, which ranks eighth globally in terms of the certified cultivable area under organic produce, with 5.78 million hectare, including 1.68 million hectare of forest area, of total net cultivable agricultural area of 140 million hectare.
India’s exports of organic products have grown from $13 million in FY03 to $1.04 billion during FY21. Except in FY20, when there was decline, the shipments of these commodities registered 25-47% growth every year, y-o-y, between FY17 and FY19.