New Delhi: In order to keep pace with changing regulatory requirements for exporting organic products to the European Union, the Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA) held a webinar yesterday jointly with the Indian Embassy in Brussels and in Denmark.
The webinar focused on the Revised Regulations implemented since 1st January 2022 for EU imports and market opportunities for Indian organic products.
The European Union is the second major destination for Indian organic food products. Under the National Organic Production Program (NPOP), exports to the EU amounted to $356 million in 2020-2021, representing approximately 34% of the $1,040 million in organic food products exported from India in the world.
India’s organic food products are exported to the United States, European Union, Canada, Britain, Republic of Korea, Israel, Switzerland, Ecuador, Vietnam, Australia, etc In terms of export value realization, processed foods, including soybean meal (57%) leads among products followed by oilseeds (9%), cereals and millets (7%), plantation crops such as tea and coffee (6%), spices and condiments (5%), medicinal plants (5%), dried fruits (3%), sugar (3%), and others.
While congratulating stakeholders on India’s milestone in traversing a remarkable export of over $1 billion of organic products under NPOP, Dr. M. Angamuthu, Chairman of APEDA, stressed that applicable standards must be met in order to maintain the market. acceptance by end consumers and national regulators. He also said that APEDA provides possible means for market penetration of new products and brand building through participation in organic food fairs in the EU.
In order to address the challenges faced by Indian exporters in exporting to the EU and to improve the share of Indian organic shipments to the EU, a panel discussion was also held with members of OrganicDenmark, the Confederation of Indian Organic Industry and International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements. (IFOAM) and Biological Processing and Trade Association (Europe) (OPTA). Technical sessions were led by Michel Reynaud from IFOAM and Aurora Abad from OPTA where aspects of new regulatory requirements and emerging market opportunities were detailed.
In his remarks, Shri Santosh Jha, Ambassador of India to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU, highlighted the need for market acceptance of organic products, the expectations of importing countries and the emerging opportunities for Indian organic products.
Ms. Pooja Kapur, India’s Ambassador to Denmark, spoke about the current trend in the organic market with a focus on Europe, the importance of the regulatory system and brand building for India.
Although the webinar was aimed at Indian exporters, it saw the participation of EU trade associations, Indian missions from various EU member states, certification bodies, assessors and officials from various departments.
APEDA is the implementing agency of the National Organic Production Program (NPOP). The program involves accreditation of certification bodies, organic production standards, promotion of organic farming and marketing, etc. The NPOP standards for production and accreditation system have been recognized by the European Commission and Switzerland for unprocessed vegetable products as equivalent to their country’s standards. With these recognitions, Indian organic products duly certified by accredited certifying bodies of India are accepted by importing countries. APEDA is also being negotiated with South Korea, Canada, Japan, Australia, etc.
In 2020-21, India produced approximately 3,496,800 metric tons certified organic products which includes all varieties of food products, namely oilseeds, fibers, sugar cane, cereals and millets, legumes, aromatic and medicinal plants, tea, coffee, fruits, spices, dried fruits, vegetables, processed foods, etc. Organic production is not limited to the edible sector but also to raw cotton, functional food products, etc. Among the various states, Madhya Pradesh is the largest producer followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. In terms of commodities, oilseeds are the largest category, followed by fiber crops, sugar crops, cereals and millets, spices and condiments, pulses, medicinal plant products, fruits and vegetables , tea, coffee, dried fruit, etc.
In 2000, the Ministry of Trade and Industry launched NPOP as the first such institutional mechanism for organic products in India. In 2001, NPOP was placed under the Foreign Trade Development and Regulation Act (FTDR) in which it was mandated that no organic products could be exported unless certified under the National Program for Organic Production.