What is India Organics ?
The use of the India Organics logo is subject to the standards set down by the National Programme on Organic Production or NPOP.
To meet the increasing levels of demand and awareness with regards to organic agricultural products and animal husbandry, the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry launched the National Programme on Organic Production (NPOP). This programme has been formally notified as part of the Foreign Trade and Development Act (FTDR Act) in 2001.
The NPOP provides an “institutional mechanism for the implementation of National Standards for Organic Production, through a National Accreditation Policy and Programme”.
This programme aims to provide the means to evaluate and accredit certification programmes as per the guidelines, to facilitate the certification of organic products as per the NPOP and to encourage the development of organic farming and processing.
What is NAB ?
The programme is implemented by the Government of India through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry as the apex body. The Ministry will constitute a National Steering Committee for NPOP which formulates the National Accreditation Policy and Programme to draw up standards and to regulate the use of the National Organic Certification Mark. The National Steering Committee also functions as the National Accreditation Body (NAB) which administers the National Accreditation Policy and Programme.
The NAB is responsible for drawing up procedures for the evaluation and accreditation of certification programmes, as well formulating procedures to evaluate agencies implementing these programmes. The accreditation of inspection and certifying agencies is also the responsibility of the NAB.
Therefore, certifying agencies must first be accredited themselves before their certification programme can be implemented. The certifying agencies are evaluated by an Evaluation Committee appointed by the NAB. No organic certification granted by an accreditation agency is valid unless the agency is accredited by the NAB.
Organisations in the process of conversion
Standards have also been set up for organisations that are in the process of converting to organic processes. The time between the start of organic management and the certification of crops as organic is called the ‘conversion period’. The whole farm, including livestock, should be converted according to standards over a period of three years. It is recommended however, that the conversion period be adapted according to the past use of the land and the ecological situation.
Plans for conversion are reviewed and inspections are carried out during the conversion process. If the whole farm is not converted, then the certification programme must ensure that the organic and non organic parts of the farm are separate.
The separation between organic and conventional production must be demarcated by a buffer zone. A buffer zone is “a clearly defined boundary area bordering an organic production site that is established to limit application of, or contact with, prohibited substances from an adjacent area”.
The certification process may allow, in certain cases, products of conversion farms to be sold as “produce of organic agriculture in the process of conversion.”
Labelling requirements for India Organics
As per the NPOP, single ingredient products may be labelled “produce of organic agriculture” (or similar description) when all the standards have been met. For products that contain multiple ingredients, they may be labelled in the following way (raw material weight):
Products can be “certified organic” only where a minimum of 95% of the ingredients are of certified organic origin.
Where less than 95% of the ingredients but not less than 75% of the ingredients are of certified organic origin, products cannot be called organic, but the word ‘organic’ may be used in principal display statements provided there is a clear statement of the proportion of organic ingredients.
Close to the indication of proportion of organic ingredients, an indication that the product is covered by the certification programme may be used.
Where less than 75% of ingredients are of certified organic origin, the product may not be called organic; however, indication of organic ingredients can be given in the ingredients list.
GMO’s (Genetically Modified Products)
Genetically engineered products cannot be used at any stage, or certification will not be granted. Certification agencies are expected to implement a system for inspection of the potential use of genetically engineered products.
India Organics Logo
Products that meet the requirements and are certified as per the NPOP can use the “India Organics” logo, which is owned by the Government of India once they have been granted the requisite license. This logo indicates that the product is organically produced and originates is India.
- For further details please see APEDA