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Don’t you agree that the way forward for our farming and food systems is ORGANIC? Don’t you agree that it should be affordable to all of us, and should not in any way burden the farmer?

I am sure that you also see organic farming as an important way to liberate farmers from today’s agrarian crisis, since it is supposed to reduce the costs to be incurred, and thereby, the need to borrow credit. What’s more, as consumers, we also get to eat safer food when more and more farmers continue to shift to organic farming.

However, a recent move by the Food Safety regulator in India, the FSSAI, is about to deal a hard blow to organic farming before it can bloom further. Ostensibly to protect consumers from fake organic, FSSAI has notified new regulations that anything that is sold as organic has to be certified for quality assurance. As you can imagine, such certification is expensive and tedious. The government has not taken upon itself the onus of making a legally valid quality assurance system available in a simple, time-bound, free manner to all those farmers who wish to be organic but is leaving it to the farming community itself to somehow deal with this regulation. FSSAI incidentally does not ask chemical farmers to pay for a certification system that guarantees that they are also complying with regulations laid down for conventional foods. Why this discrimination against organic farmers, when they are the ones adopting a farming method that is beneficial for the farmers, consumers and our environment?

Meanwhile, it is not as though certification is fool-proof, in terms of providing authentic organic to consumers. There are other solutions which might weed out fake organic from our food shelves….like ensuring access to free testing facilities for all foods to any farmer or consumer. If consumers find chemicals or GMOs in their food, they themselves will veer away from such food and move towards genuine organic. Traceability is another such mechanism which has the possibility of weeding out fake organic, by consumers knowing where their organic food is coming from and thereby the possibility of cheating coming down.

I am looking for win-win solutions for organic farmers as well as consumers, not regulation that stifles the ready or easy adoption of organic farming and thereby makes organic un-affordable for all of us.

Please add your voice to the voice of many organic consumers and farmers of India Sign this petition to the Union Health (am.krishi@nic.in) and Agriculture Minister (hfwminister@gov.in) and the food safety regulator (ceo@fssai.gov.in), asking them to repeal this unfair and unjustified regulation. Organic food need not be certified for it to be organic. Government has to scrap this notification immediately.