Organic food demand in India is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 20.5% over the next few years, with the market size expected to surpass $2.6 billion by 2026, says Sujit Jain , President and Chief Executive Officer (CMD), Netsurf Communications Pvt Ltd.
The Indian organic food market size was $849.5 million in 2020 but since then it has been influenced by the outbreak of the Covid pandemic resulting in exponential growth in demand, said Jain, who has was among the first in the country to launch organic farm-branded products under the BioFit brand.
Reduce input costs
“Organic farming practices provide farmers with better quality and quantity that can be sold at a premium price. Moreover, it has also helped them reduce the cost of farming. In a nutshell, it is the most profitable and sustainable way of farming for farmers,” he said.
Netsurf has been selling its products through direct distribution since 2000. These “solutions” reduce dependence on agrochemicals and make the products 100% organic. About 35 to 40 lakh farmers are said to use Biofit products. They represent 60% of Netsurf’s annual turnover.
Sujit Jain, CMD, Netsurf Communications Pvt Ltd.
Jain said organic farming has been gaining popularity in recent years and its practice has led to improved soil fertility and better crop development, in addition to yield quality. According to data from the Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA), organic crop production was 3.2 million tonnes in 2020-21, up 36% from a year ago. a year. The area under organic farming increased to 2.3 lakh hectares in 2020-21, he said.
Add to request
“In the post-pandemic situation, the consumer is looking for clean and healthy food options and organic food is one of them. Organically grown vegetables, staple foods, fruits and seeds etc. have started to gain demand in the market. Industries have started introducing organic products which add even more to the demand,” the Netsurf CMD said.
Given these developments, the agricultural sector has started to use bio-fertilizers and implement other organic farming practices. “Urban consumers are willing to pay extra for such certified organic foods. States and central governments have developed programs such as Paramparagat Krushi Vikas Yojanathe National Oilseeds and Oil Palm Mission, the National Food Security Mission, etc. Farmers can get financial help from government agencies to encourage them to use organic products instead of synthetic chemical fertilizers,” he said.
Jain said industry and consumer demand, besides government support and improved profitability for farmers, are the factors supporting organic farming practices in India.
Growth of biofertilizers
The Netsurf CMD stated that in view of this, the biofertilizers market is expected to grow from $110.07 million in 2022 to $243.61 million by 2029 at a CAGR of 12.02% during the forecast period. “Sikkim has fully converted to organic farming since 2016. Kerala, Mizoram, Goa, Rajasthan and Meghalaya intend to follow the same path. Andhra Pradesh is also promoting zero budget natural farming,” he said.
Another factor driving the growth of organic agriculture is an integrated approach. “Many farmers have now switched to integrated farming where they have started supplementing their chemical fertilizers with biofertilizers. It helped them improve yield and fertility,” he said.
Although India had the largest number of organic farmers (30% of global organic producers) in 2018, the country is still in the early stages of implementing organic practices.
Potential in Manipur, UP
Netsurf sees good potential for its Biofit brand of products in the North East, particularly in Manipur, where farmers practice organic and integrated farming. In Manipur, the state government implements the “Manipur Organic Mission” program to promote organic farming in the region.
“Uttar Pradesh has also taken initiatives to make the state a hub for organic agriculture in India. It has introduced cluster farming and the government has also decided to fund each cluster over the next three years to encourage organic farming,” said Jain, adding that the company helps farmers become direct sellers of products.
Stating that health, fitness, immunity and organic food have become buzzwords after the pandemic, he said the concept of healthy living and eating after the pandemic has grown phenomenal. Citing studies, he said the demand for organic food is higher in emerging countries than in developed countries.
“Consumers believe that organic foods are more nutritious and healthier than conventionally grown foods. Due to all these factors, retailers have seen a huge increase in demand for organic food,” Netsurf CMD said.
Jain said his company plans to introduce new products across all categories, including under the Biofit brand.
August 03, 2022