Hyderabad: The Telangana State Seed and Organic Certification Authority (TSSOCA) added another feather to its cap with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry according it accreditation for inspection and certification of organic products in the State. Telangana is among the very few States in the country to get this accreditation.
In May, 2016, The State government had approached the Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, seeking accreditation to certify organic products, with an objective of improving organic cultivation on a large scale in the State, TSSOCA Director Dr K Keshavulu told Telangana Today.
The State seed certification agency received a letter from the Commerce Ministry on Friday stating that the evaluation committee under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) had found that Telangana had been following the standards for certification of organic products and thus approved the accreditation.
Keshavulu said the State government wanted to develop an organic agriculture system of farm design and management to create an ecosystem. “The system can achieve sustainable productivity without artificial external inputs such as chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides,” he said, adding that it would also minimise environmental pollution, improve soil fertility and reduce soil erosion in the State.
He said Agriculture Minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy would inaugurate the licensing of organic products on August 13 and the certification process would start soon after the launch. The agency has already received around 200 applications for 2,000-odd acres across the erstwhile nine districts (excluding Hyderabad) for organic products’ certification. Keshavulu said people were showing a lot of interest towards organic products and the Central government accreditation for certification would help the State in improving organic farming. “It helps in assuring consumers about the quality of certified products which will be sold in the national and international market,” he said.
The inspection and certification of organic products would be taken up in collaboration with the Indo-German project, Department of Agriculture and Rythu Nestham Foundation. The State government had appointed a committee in January 2017 to work on an exclusive State organic policy to encourage farmers to move towards organic farming.
Keshavulu said there would be much demand for organic certification in the State and major crops covered were paddy, pulses, oil seeds, vegetables and fruits. The agency would divide the State into three zones – Central, North and South – for field inspections and certification purposes.