The Government of Karnataka, realising the importance of organic agriculture as early as in 2004 brought out a State Policy on Organic Farming and has implemented several schemes and programmes under the policy to promote organic farming in the State. Several programmes were initiated as organic farming addresses sustainable food production, soil health, nature conservation, rural development and mitigation of drought situation.
Organic village programme in Cluster approach was initiated at district level initially which was later extended to taluk and later on to hobli level. Regional Institutes of Organic Farming (RIOF) established in State Agricultural Universities. Separate Package of Practices for organic farming brought out for several crops and also model farms established by the State Agriculture Universities. The State of Karnataka has brought out its own organic certification agency- Karnataka State Seeds & Organic Certification Agency (KSSOCA).
Savayava Bhagya Yojane, a major programme which was implemented in 566 hoblis of the state in project areas of 100 ha each benefitting 53829 farmers and bringing an area of 63677 hectare under organic cultivation. The farmers in each cluster were brought together to form organic farmers associations and registered under society’s act. The entire area under Savayava Bhagya Yojana brought under group certification programme through KSSOCA.
Market Based Specific Crop Organic Cluster Development Programme was implemented in certified Savayava Bhagya Yojane project areas with a focus on organic market based specific crops or commodity in order to provide bulk & continuous supply to meet the market demand. Further, focus was provided to develop proper linkages between producers and consumers by strengthening the supply chain mechanism on value chain mode by supporting activities related to production, collection, grading, value addition, processing, packing, brand development, whole sale and retail marketing of organic produce.
In accordance with this, the State witnessed a steady growth with an increase in certified area from a mere 2,500 ha during 2004-05 to 2,09,139 ha by 2021 (including PGS certification). Presently, Karnataka ranks seventh in the country in terms of certified area and third in terms of total certified annual production.
Further, to facilitate systematic market of organic produce, Govt. of Karnataka has facilitated setting up of 15 regional federations by federating the organic farmers’ associations throughout the state. The village level organic farmers’ associations and clusters were formed into 15 regional federations and registered during 2015-16. These federations were supported for taking up Organic market related activities viz., collection, grading, value addition, processing, packing, brand development, marketing of organic produce, consumer awareness programme and other related activities. These 15 regional federations have federated to form Karnataka State Co-operative Organic Produce marketing Federation Limited at the State Level. Various programmes have been initiated to provide market linkages to the organic produce of the state through these organic federations.
The state has brought out a directory having details of all stake holders of organic farming and has been incorporated on to the website https://www.organics-millets.in
Karnataka State policy on organic farming 2017 was released during the National Trade fair in 2017. The policy is a revision of the 2004 version by incorporating new objectives and strategies to create more opportunities for the farmers of the state to meet the growing demand for organic food in the market. The new policy focuses on providing proper linkages between producers and consumers, strengthening the supply chain mechanism and supporting activities related to collection, grading, value addition, processing, packing, brand development, whole sale and retail marketing of organic produce
Karnataka is promoting millets as nutri-cereals that are good to eat and grow and kind on the planet. Millet production and promotional programmes are being taken up by the department of Agriculture. Jowar, Bajra and Ragi crops are referred as “Major Millets” where as Foxtail millet (navane), Little millet (same), Kodo millet (Haraka), Barnyard millet (udalu), Proso millet (baragu), Browntop millet (korale) crops are referred as “Minor Millets” and together these are called as Nutri-Cereals.
Millets are termed as the last standing crop in times of drought and as wonder grain that has capability to enhance nutritional security in the country. The perception of millets of the state as food of the poor is changing mainly among those with lifestyle diseases. Karnataka has developed a brand called “Siri” for millets as they are referred as ‘siridhanya’ or rich grains. Karnataka has started implementing distribution of millets through PDS -where in the grains are sourced and distributed locally. Today, Karnataka is one of the leading producers and consumers of millets in the country. It also stands at the top of the market with a huge demand for millets. The state government is trying to make millets ‘The Food of the Future’ through various initiatives and ensuring farmers get their due remuneration.
In order to increase the area under millets cultivation in the state, encouragement is being given for the cultivation of organically and traditionally grown minor millets/nutri cereals viz., foxtail millet, little millet, Indian barnyard millet, kodo millet, brown top millet and proso millet based on the crop survey by providing an incentive of Rs. 10,000/- per hectare was directly transferred to the bank accounts of farmers growing minor millets through DBT. Scheme is being continued during 2022-23 with an incentive of Rs: 6,000/- per hectare (maximum of 2 Ha).
In order to encourage Processing, Grading, Value addition, Packing and Branding of Minor millets, an assistance of 50% or maximum of Rs.10.00 lakhs subsidy are being provided to the millet processing machineries.
Organic Farming and Certification Programme.
This scheme was launched during 2018-19 to enhance the certified organic area in the state from 1.00 lakh hectares to1.50 lakh hectares. This programme is being implemented by inviting proposals from eligible farmer groups/ individuals who are willing to register their farms for organic certification for which the assistance for certification is being provided through Karnataka State Seeds and Organic Certification Agency (KSSOCA).
At present, certification process is under progress for 279 groups and 397 individuals with an additional area of 26611 hectares are being brought under the preview of organic certification.
Savayava Siri: During 2021-22 a new program “Savayava Siri” has been launched for the promotion of organic farming. Under the scheme capacity building in organic farming is provided to the eligible farmers of the state, along with the development of model organic farms and organic seed production farms, desi vegetable seed production and local/forest fruit seeds/seedling production in the state agriculture / horticultural universities.
Natural farming Scheme:
The Scientific Validation of Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) System proposed for the first time during 2018-19 under State Scheme. This is being implemented as experimental trials through the concerned State Agriculture/ Horticulture Universities in 10 Research Stations on Operational Research Project (ORP) mode. Presently ZBNF trials are in final stage.
During 2022-23 “Chief Ministers Natural Farming” Scheme has been initiated through State’s Agri/horticultural Universities as farmers participatory research in 1000 acres farmer’s fields under each of the five Agri/Horticultural Universities wherein the best practices of earlier NF experiments are integrated with the best practices of organic farming system and replicated in farmers fields with an objective to finally develop a protocol for Natural farming practices which may emerge as sustainable model for future.
National Mission on Natural Farming (NMNF) – Central Scheme
The project is mainly a knowledge intensive program based on persuasive methods. Capacity building activities for natural farming is the main component and the main objective of the project will be to ultimately bring the farmers of the project area under natural farming. Capacity building of farmer beneficiaries at all levels by providing training, study tour and technical expertise through Farmers Field Schools (FFS).
This program is implemented by the farmers (Farmer Trainers) as the information is disseminated most effectively. The central government has selected MANAGE, NCOF and ICAR as Knowledge Partners in the implementation of the project and training of trainers will be organized for departmental officers, ATMA staff and selected farmers under the project through these organizations.
Natural farming systems are based on biomass mulching, round the year green cover, indigenous cow-based dung and urine formulations excluding any kind of purchased inputs organic, biological or otherwise.
The scheme is an overall 4-year program from 2023-24, to be implemented at the Gram Panchayat level. A grant of Rs.12.45 lakhs has been allocated for the implementation of the project for a period of 4 years in each 50 hectare cluster of Gram Panchayat.