While retailers are unhappy with FSSAI’s decision, consumers have welcomed it.
Bangalore, April 11, 2018: If you have a favorite organic brand, prepare to bid your goodbye to it if it doesn’t follow the latest Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) regulation that wants food companies selling organic produce to get certified with one of the two authorities — National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) or the Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India).
Failing to comply with this, they cannot sell their produce through retail or any other channel.
This has led to a decrease in sales as people buying these products are aware of the issue.
Govind Kabadi, owner of Simply Organics, Bangalore, said, “A very niche audience purchases organic food and they’re well-aware of these developments. Whenever they visit the store, they check for the certification logo first .Just when sale of organic food was gaining momentum, FSSAI comes out with these rules. Most farmers who practice organic farming cannot comply with the rules for mainly two reasons: cost and humongous paperwork.” .”
Mamatha Rangan, owner of Vriksh – an organic store, said, “Surely, it has affected our business. Most customers check for certification before buying organic products. There are few who don’t mind the lack of certification logo but suddenly, we as retailers have to stop taking products that are not certified. The government should provide subsidies and encourage farmers to overcome the problem.”
Gurunath, a farmer who grows paddy and recently switched to organic farming, said, “There isn’t enough financial incentive from the government. We have to switch to organic farming because of adverse effects of pesticides use but the government is least helpful.”
Some retailers fear that this growing market might also lose its momentum in the long-run.
Sumana Reddy, owner of Fresh Earth Organics, said, “With certification being made legally mandatory, this high-growth potential market of organic products might lose its traction. Organic farming needs to be supported and this will only be a deterrent. Most small-scale companies can’t gain compliance because of costs involved.”
While retailers are against the move, customers have welcomed it. Asha Asthana, a frequent customer at Nature’s Basket, a grocery store for organic produce, said, “I think the move is well-thought out because there were reports of pesticide residue being found in organic fruits and vegetables. There has to be a system to check if the produce is genuinely organic or not.”
Dr. Vinod Kumar Gupta, Fellow of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, explained, “This could reduce the growth of organic farming which defeats the purpose of FSSAI as a body. Organic food in the country sold is around 1 per cent. This already small number would be reduced further.”