Indian organic food market expected to exceed $2.6 billion by 2026: Netsurf
According to Sujit Jain, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), Netsurf Communications Pvt Ltd, demand for organic food in India is expected to grow at a 20.5 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) over the next few years, with the market size expected to exceed $2.6 billion by 2026.
According to the CMD of the Pune-based firm, which was among the first in the country to launch organic farm brand products under the Biofit brand, India’s organic food market size was $849.5 million in 2020, but since then it has been influenced by the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, resulting in exponential growth in demand.
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lowering input costs
‘Organic farming practices provide farmers with higher quality and quantity products that can be sold at a premium.’ It also assisted them in lowering their farming costs. In a nutshell, it’s the most profitable and sustainable way for farmers to move forward,’ he explained.
Since 2000, Netsurf has sold its product through direct distribution. These ‘solutions’ reduce reliance on agrochemicals and make the product completely organic. Biofit products are said to be used by 35-40 lakh farmers. They account for 60% of Netsurf’s annual revenue.
Organic farming, according to Jain, has gained popularity in recent years, with its practice improving soil fertility and crop development, as well as yield quality. According to Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) data, organic crop production was 3.2 million tonnes in 2020-21, up 36% from the previous year. According to him, the area under organic farming will increase to 2.3 lakh hectares in 2020-21.
‘In the aftermath of a pandemic, consumers are looking for clean and healthy food options, and organic food is one of them.’ Organically grown vegetables, staples, fruits, and seeds, among other things, have begun to gain popularity in the market. ‘Industry has begun to introduce organic products, which significantly increase demand,’ said Netsurf’s CMD.
As a result of these developments, the agriculture sector has begun to use bio-fertilizers and other organic farming practices. ‘Urban consumers are willing to pay a higher price for such certified organic foods.’ State and central governments have implemented programs such as the Paramparagat Krushi Vikas Yojana, the National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm, the National Food Security Mission, and others. Farmers can receive financial assistance from government agencies as an incentive to use organic fertilizers rather than synthetic-chemical-based fertilizers,’ he said.
According to Jain, demand from the industry and consumers, as well as government support and increased profitability for farmers, are driving organic farming practices in India.
Biofertilizer growth and Impact
According to the Netsurf CMD, the biofertilizers market will grow from $110.07 million in 2022 to $243.61 million by 2029, at a CAGR of 12.02% during the forecast period. ‘Sikkim has completely converted to organic farming since 2016.’ Kerala, Mizoram, Goa, Rajasthan, and Meghalaya plan to follow suit. ‘Andhra Pradesh is also encouraging Zero Budget Natural Farming,’ he added.
An integrated approach is another factor driving the growth of organic farming. ‘Many farmers have now opted for integrated farming, which involves supplementing chemical fertilizers with biofertilizers. This has assisted them in increasing yield and fertility,’ he said.
Despite having the most organic farmers (30% of global organic growers) in 2018, India is still in the early stages of implementing organic practices.
Propensity in Manipur and Uttar Pradesh
Netsurf sees a lot of potential for its Biofit brand of products in the North-East, particularly in Manipur, where farmers are interested in organic and integrated farming. The state government of Manipur is implementing the ‘Manipur Organic Mission’ program to promote organic farming in the state.
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‘Uttar Pradesh has also taken steps to establish the state as an organic farming hub in India.’ It has introduced cluster farming, and the government has decided to fund each cluster for the next three years to encourage organic farming,’ Jain explained, adding that the company is assisting farmers in becoming direct sellers of products.
Organic Food became buzzword
He stated that health, fitness, immunity, and organic food have become buzzwords since the pandemic and that the concept of healthy living and eating has seen tremendous growth since the pandemic. According to studies, the demand for organic food is higher in developing countries than in developed countries.
‘Consumers perceive organic foods to be more nutritious and healthier than conventionally grown foods. As a result of all of these factors, retailers have seen a significant increase in demand for organic foods,’ said Netsurf’s CMD. Jain stated that his company intends to launch new items in all categories, including the Biofit brand.