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Free organic product check for farmers

Patna: The agriculture department, after launching its scheme to promote organic corridors in Bihar, will help farmers get their products checked for authenticity as part of its third agricultural roadmap.

The department will spend around Rs 51 lakh to get the samples checked at its own cost, without putting any additional load on farmers opting for organic farming.

Sharing this information, agriculture minister Prem Kumar said the samples would be tested at the National Institute of Plant Health Management (NIPHM), Hyderabad.

Organic farming is practised on 2,500 acres in the districts situated along river Ganga and along some national highways.

The products of these fields need authenticity about those being organic.

As the certification process for organic farming takes time, the agriculture department is playing the role of referee for sending soil and product samples of the organic corridor areas to NIPHM for testing.

Buyers check whether the products have been certified by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) or any agency accredited by it. Keeping this thing in mind, Bihar government has entered into an agreement with the Sikkim State Organic Certification Agency (SSOCA), which is an accredited agency for certifying organic products.

However, the whole process of certification would take more than a year and hence, farmers need some sort of authenticity for the products in the intervening period.

"Samples of soils and products would be collected from 300 places across the organic corridor for testing. The same will be sent to the lab for finding out whether the soil in which the product has been grown has any chemical content or not and also the product. This will help farmers in selling their products as organic ones," said an official in the agriculture department.

He said the step had been taken as several organic materials and pesticides are used by farmers in Bihar which have not been certified by the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee.

The third agricultural roadmap talks of bringing 25,000 acres under organic farming in 2018-19. The roadmap talks of bringing 35,000 acres, 45,000 acres and 50,000 acres of land under organic farming in 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively.

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