As the Government of India recognized the efforts of the Art of Living in promulgating organic farming, Sri Sri Institute of Agricultural Sciences and Technology Trust (SSIAST) has been made eligible to train and certify organic farmers as a Regional Council on behalf of National Centre of Organic Farming (NCOF). In lieu of this, Regional Centre of Farming, Bengaluru, is conducting a two-day workshop “PGS-India, a cost-free organic certification” at the Art of Living International Centre on 17th and 18th August, 2015.
The inauguration program was in the presence of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living; along with Dr. Harish, Director - Regional Centre of Organic Farming; and Dr. Jagath Singh, Assistant Director - South Zone, NCOF.
In the first phase, farmers from Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka would be trained. Subsequently, all Art of Living farmers will participate for PGS certification.
The focus point of the workshop is to provide certified organic commodities at affordable prices to common man and educate the stakeholders on the importance and guidelines of PGS-India. Experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, and third-party organic certifying agencies addressed the gathering on the overview of organic production in the country and the demand for certified produce in domestic and global markets.
“In addition to the training and other support, NCOF advised SSIAST on vegetable and fruit market waste compost, bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticide production units and farmers market strategies as a part of this workshop,” shared Prabhakar Rao, Trustee, SSIAST.
Over 20 lakh farmers have been trained under Sri Sri Natural Farming, and are immensely aware about the importance of maintaining the correct microbial balance in the soil. Hence the quality of grains, fruits and vegetables is much higher than any standard prescribed for organic certification.
“Till now, these farmers were handicapped by the fact they did not have a piece of paper certifying them as organic producers and available systems were too expensive and complex for small farmers to handle. The PGS certification can prove to be the way forward for the organic certification of small farmers." concluded Mr. Rao.