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Awards

Recipient of Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Award presented in Philippines.

Recipient of Krishi Bushan Award by Government of Maharashtra.

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Member of IFOAM Member of IUCN
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Fair Trade India
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Organic Agriculture

To increase the production of food grains the use of hybrid seeds, chemical fertilizers and pesticides was encouraged under the Green Revolution. The quantity of production did increased, however the nutritional value of the grains reduced. There were many adverse effects on human health. The research at Shrimati Vanaja Ramprasad Beglare showed the presence of poisonous elements from the pesticides in various dairy products, fruits, vegetables and meats. The excessive use of chemicals has disturbed the ecological balance as well. These chemicals have destroyed crop-friendly organisms while some destructive organisms have developed immunity towards these chemicals.

IRD has played a dynamic role in the past decade by initiating and implementing programmes in organic agriculture, which influenced government policies and policies of voluntary organizations in favour of organic agriculture. IIRD in co-operation with several NGOs and thousands of organic farmers developed the first set of organic standards with relevance to agro-climatic and agricultural practices in the country (Concepts, Principles and Basic Standards of Indian Organic Agriculture), which has been translated in several languages in the country.

In order to promote organic agriculture based upon local and domestic markets, IIRD has also developed the first manual on organic bazaars and initiated the process of producer-consumer partnership in sustainable agriculture. IIRD also has done pioneering work in the field of bio-diversity by identifying various legume, cereal and pulses, which are not cultivated, but included in the food basket of rural poor and developed programmes to conserve these crops in order to ensure foods security in the local area.

For the Marathwada region, IIRD in collaboration with national research institutions Marathwada University has prepared a manual for appropriate organic farming methods taking into consideration the situations in the region – soil, climatic, social, economic, and biodiversity. This manual is being followed by the organic farmers of the region and is also used as training material during the training of local farmers.

Taking in consideration all of the above, IIRD is working on a national level to address the following issues:

  • Food Security
  • Production of Nutritious/ Healthy Food
  • Soil Health Conservation
  • Climate Protection
  • Ensuring the consistent production of good quality grains

Organic Agriculture Training – Under this program 5000 farmers have been trained.IIRD, with its experience of working in the area of organic agriculture for more than a decade, has vast knowledge and resources in this field. Tapping on this expertise, IIRD is successful in conducting various training courses, workshops, and seminars in the field of organic agriculture and related practices of certification and marketing.


- IIRD has been nominated by the central Government to carry out training courses for Government selected Service Providers who are involved in facilitating certification and marketing of organic agricultural produce of small and marginal farmers.
 
- IIRD regularly conducts training courses for small and marginal farmers in Marathwada region, particularly women farmers of Paithan Taluka, on organic farming practices and environment.

- With IIRD’s initiative in some parts of the country in bringing about alternative marketing methods for organic products that benefit small and marginal farmers, IIRD organizes regular training in alternative marketing or organic bazaars.

- In collaboration with ENCON (Environment Consulting Company) and ECOCERT (Certification Company), regular national and international training courses are held in the area of organic agriculture certification and marketing. The participants at these trainings include representatives from NGOs, Government, private companies, farming cooperatives, consultants, and traders, from India and neighboring countries of Asia.

Biodynamic training workshops are implemented on a district, state, national and international level. 229 farmer groups have been provided training through Participatory Guarantee System which leads to organic certification of their produce. An organic bazaar is organized every Firday in Aurangabad to raise awareness among consumers, provide a market for the organic produce and encourage farmer-consumer interaction. 1200 environmentally conscious consumers participate in this bazaar.

IIRD organises workshops for consumers to inform them about organic farming. They are given an opportunity to visit farmers on their farms and exchange ideas.

With the help of IIRD, Organic farming movements have developed in 5 states of India and 8 districts in Marathwada.

Local Guarantee Systems and Alternative Certification –

Due to various constraints that include – high cost of certification by foreign and established certification agencies, lack of access to information, lack of education and skills required to keep records and documentation required for conventional certification procedures, and incompatible prescriptions by international standards, local certification for organic produce was initiated by IIRD and found to be a viable alternative for small and marginal farmers of rural India. IIRD, with the participation of farming communities in Paithan Taluka, developed local standards applicable and appropriate to the situations of the region and promoted this to small farmers in Marathwada. Initially, IIRD trained forty five eco-volunteers on all aspects of organic technology, systems and local marketing. These eco-volunteers are women organic farmers who continuously monitor, guide and inspect organic farms in their areas. Once certified, alternative systems of marketing or organic bazaars are used to market the produce in local markets.

District Organic Promotion Centres (DOPC) –

IIRD, in collaboration with partner organizations with similar interests, has established DOPCs in 4 districts of Marathwada – Jalna, Parbhani, Beed, and Hingoli. The DOPCs aim to promote organic farming in their respective districts through trainings, identifying and mobilizing the farmers, promoting alternative marketing, and facilitating local guarantee and certification of organic products. The DOPCs have been successful in transforming 300 to 500 organic farmers with small land holdings in each of the district and have put in place alternative systems of marketing at the respective district level with effective consumer-producer linkages.