Disclosure first – I believe that eating organic is healthier. I eat organic as far as possible.
However, I have a huge problem with the push for organic farming in India.
Let’s face it. Organic farms usually have lower productivity and as a result, the produce is more expensive. This is fine, so long as eating organic produce is a niche phenomenon and is something the wealthier people do.
I eat organic because I can afford it. 9 out of 10 Indians can’t.
Unless there is significant automation, I believe that a mass shift to organic farming is a flawed idea and will not succeed as a mass replacement for current agricultural practices in India.
Organic farming is subject to more risks from pests and is low in productivity as well. It is simply not a viable mass farming replacement, unless we want large scale food shortages and food insecurity.
The key factor that could change things is automation of organic farming, where organic produce is grown in climate and input controlled environments. This is happening already to some extent in hydroponics and urban agriculture installations
These usually need significant capital investment which most farmers will not be able to make and, which anyway increase the cost of produce.
Organic agriculture needs to arrive at the right mix of technology, investments, and input costs to deliver high productivity.
Productivity in my dictionary is produce that can be profitably sold at market price by farmers. And this is not market price of organic produce. This is market price of mainstream factory farmed produce.
Unless organic agriculture can compete with mainstream factory farmed produce on price, it’s merely a niche phenomenon. Unless this price competitiveness happens, organics can not be a replacement for factory farmed produce in India.