During the previous three decades, organic produce has attracted the attention of a growing health-conscious population across the globe. Both international and domestic communities are becoming aware of issues like agrochemical residues, produce quality, and food safety. Worldwide, over 37.5 million ha of land (0.87% of total agricultural land) is being managed organically by 1.9 million producers in 164 countries. In addition, there is another 31 million ha certified for wild harvest collection. Global sales of organic products have reached U.S. $75 billion, with the U.S. and Europe as the largest consumers. The concept of organic farming is not new to the Indian farming community. Several forms of organic farming are successfully practiced in diverse climates, particularly in rain-fed, tribal mountains, and hilly areas of the country. Many of the forest products of economic importance, such as herbs and medicinal plants are in this category by default. The report of the Task Force on Organic Farming appointed by the Government of India noted the vast areas of the country where limited amounts of synthetic chemicals are used, although they have low productivity, but also which could have unexploited potential for organic agriculture. As of March 2014, India had 4.72 million ha under an organic certification process, including 0.6 million ha of cultivated agricultural land and 4.12 million ha of wild harvest collection forest area. During 2012–2013, India exported 165,262 million tons of organic products across 135 commodities valued at $312 million. The domestic market for organic commodities is also growing at an annual growth rate of 15%–20%. The crops grown organically include cashew nut, spices, cotton, rice, sugarcane, pineapple, passion fruit, groundnut, sunflower, millet, vegetables, wheat castor, mustard, walnut, tea, coffee, banana, and mango. Institutional support for organic exports from India was created by the launch of the National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) by the Agriculture and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA), Ministry of Commerce. The NPOP supports promotional initiatives, accreditation by inspection and certification agencies, and offers support to agri-business enterprises to facilitate export. India now has 26 accredited certification agencies to facilitate the certification of growers.
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