Organic foods continue to grow in popularity after covid lockdowns. Organic sales are projected to grow to the $2.6 Billion mark by 2026, according to the Organic Trade Association. Organic foods are clearly healthier for the planet because they support an agricultural system that avoids synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and promotes a more biodiverse ecosystem, with attention to the health of waterways, soil, air, wildlife, farm workers, and the climate.
Reasons for buying organic food
- Organic farming is friendlier to the environment; therefore on organic farms, you are likely to find a greater diversity of plants (not including the organic food itself) and animals.
- Organic processed food contains no hydrogenated fat, whereas non-organic processed food does. Hydrogenated fat has been linked to heart disease — so choosing organic options can help to protect your heart.
- If you are concerned about how animals are treated, then choosing organic food is a good idea. Organic farming ensures that animals are fed a natural diet and kept in free-range conditions.
- Genetically modified (GMOs) crops are not allowed under organic standards.
- There are lower levels of pesticide residues in organic food, as only a small number of chemicals are allowed in organic food production. However, it should be noted here that it is possible to produce conventionally-grown fruit and vegetables with minimal residues. Indeed, residues are usually not detected in about 70 percent of produce sampled by the Pesticides Residue Committee (and they tend to focus on problem crops).
Reasons against buying organic food
In the context of Delhi, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Noida, and Faridabad, there are many reasons against buying organic food. We started OrganicBasket because we couldn’t find 100% organic fruits & vegetables. We bought organic fruits and vegetables from stores, Gurgaon Organic Farmers Market (GOFM), contacted and bought directly from the farmers. I, personally, have contacts with more than 150 organic farmers but when I visited their farms only a dozen or so farmers were really organic.
Most farmers were either saying organic and producing non-organic or bought from other non-organic farmers and supplied in the name of organic. This forced me to look into organic fruits and vegetables further. But I have got nothing but more and more distrust.
So these are the main problems with buying organic in India:
- You will be paying 2 to 4 times the regular price for e.g. green peas cost Rs 40/kg but organic was selling for 180/kg at GOFM
- Most of the farmers do not have Certified Organic products. Some of the produce they grow with suspicious practices like Good farming techniques and market it as organic.
- You have to buy only on the basis of relationship and trust factors rather than any organic certificates.
- The PGS (Participatory Guarantee Scheme) is a joke. I have met 100s of so-called organic farmers who sell their produce as organic but use pesticides and fertilizers.
That’s why, we have started OrganicBasket which not only takes care of the certification but also takes other steps to ensure that whatever we source is 100% organic and affordable. There is no point in buying something at 5 times the price of non-organic alternatives.