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Concerned about food security

16 August 2009 1,672 views No Comment

LUDHIANA: Food security has always been of concern in developing countries but off late a new concept of healthy food has slowly crept into the 
minds of economically well off and health conscious people.

A further improvisation of organic foods- few industrialists and entrepreneurs who afford the means have started cultivating food items for their dining tables under their own strict vigil.

With a whole new market of organic foods items emerging in city, seriously conscious people feel that people engaged in commercial production of organics may sometimes ignore quality owing to their economics.

“The first thing one requires to start organic farming is a chunk of land where no chemical fertilizers have been previous few years,” said an industrialist Avtar Singh Bhogal who also manages a organic kitchen garden at his factory premises.

Though the Bhogals had been into organic farming at a relative larger scale few years also but even presently they have reserved a place to grow vegetables for their kitchen.

“We had to initiate new construction at the place owing to business expansion but at least vegetables grown at the kitchen garden are the safest,” said Bhogal.

Another entrepreneur Rajinderpal Singh Grewal has reserved a chunk of land for organic farming at his farm in Barrewal. “I have never tried organic farming at the commercial scales but there is a great demand for the product,” said Grewal who has also grown fruits plants for his family consumption.

Revealing his Organic mantra, Grewal said, “Two things; Indigenous Cow and Neem plants are must for the organic farming.” While this organic farmer, uses Cow dung instead of chemical fertilizers, a mixture of Cow urine and Neem with various other ingredients are used instead of pesticides.

Sunil Aggarwal a teacher KLSD college too continues his experiment with the organic farming at his kitchen garden. Another health conscious professional is Jaskirat Singh, a software engineer by profession.

Talking about this natural way of crop production, Rajinderpal Singh Aulakh, Agriculture Development Officer (ADO) Ludhiana said, “Its takes at least three years for soil to get rid of the chemical residues. So economically inclusion of Organic farming at kitchen garden level is a better idea.”

Aulakh doubts that people engaged in the business of selling organic food products are serious enough for the quality. “Of the most people who claim to sell organic, I have come across only few genuine cases,” said Aulakh that chemically grown crops have long lasting consequences and agricultural research institutions can help in promoting the concept by using germ plasm of the traditional indigenous crop varieties.

Countering those who claim that organic production system is not viable to feel vast hordes of hungry in developing nations, Umendra Dutt of the Kheti Virasat Mission, a NGO engaged in promoting organic farming feels, “We need to redefine what Food Security is. About 20 years ago people in south preferred Millet but over the years Rice has become their diet.”

Millet can be grown organically more easily, he said adding people in rural areas can be easily encouraged to adopt organic. “Never have we included the ecological costs and health costs when we estimate costs of the food products,” said Dutt.

As far as the market of organic food products is concerned, Europeans and Americans seems to be more conscious about the health consequences of the chemically grown food. Sachit Arora, owner of Greenfiesta, Healthy Henry and Sosweet brands said, “We export 80% of the total produce to foreign countries. People here still are more concerned about the cost factor.”

He informed that about half a dozen leading players; Namdhari, Grewal Organics, Shrista, Greenland Organics are involved in sale of organic products in the city. talking about the credibility of these entrepreneurs including himself Arora said, “We have activated various farmer groups in various states. They are provided organic inputs and produce is procured later we get it certified.”

Sahib Singh, Manager of the Namdhari Agro Fresh said, “All the food products sold at Namdhari are certified. People are getting more conscious about what they eat. Even the demand of indian produce at foreign shores is significantly high.”

After the organic foods made way into the people’s kitchen, a leading brand in textiles few months ago had also lauched an organic cotton fabric. Rajat Mishra of Venus Textiles informed, “Our brand, UV and W (Unique values and wears), is totally organic. Venus had launched its organic clothing in October 2008.”

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