Health awareness spurs organic products market in Uttarakhand

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organic village uttarakhand
Dyo organic village resort, in Mukteshwar in Nainital district, with her produce.

The Uttarakhand government has started making the state organic since 2002. Rudraprayag has been declared an organic district.

Reema Pant (43), a teacher with a prominent Dehradun school, has made it a point to buy only organic vegetables from a weekly market that comes up in the Dalanwala area. Concerned over the health hazards from chemically treated vegetables and fruits, Reema said she cannot compromise with the health of her family.

“Organic products are a bit expensive but that’s okay as I am sure organic vegetables, pulses and fruits are loaded with goodies of the Mother Nature,” she said. Reema is one among hundreds of buyers in Dehradun who have switched over to organic products.

The Uttarakhand government has started making the state organic since 2002. Rudraprayag has been declared an organic district. The hill areas of the state use natural manure. The growing rage for organic foodstuffs has spawned a breed of farmers that sell their products, certified as organic.

American woman Mona Schwartz, who lived in Rajpur area of the capital, started a weekly market for organic produce at her home almost a decade ago. Her death was a jolt to the organic movement in Dehradun, but her friends carried forward the legacy.

Ira Chauhan, a green activist and an associate of Schwartz, said many organic shops have come up in the city because of growing awareness among the people. Shopping complexes and malls have now counters for organic products.

“In order to be certified as organic, the seed should be right and no chemical fertilizers should have been used on the land for the past 3 years,” said Chauhan. “The prices of the organic produce, such as vegetables and pulses, are only 10-20% more than that of the non-organic, but their benefit to health is immense.”

GAIN FOR FARMERS

Sanjeev Chauhan of Matiyala village in Chakrata, who is growing organic vegetables and pulses, said he was trying to bring all his fields under organic farming. “We earlier used urea and other chemical fertilizers, but I will now dig up my fields and water them for the next three years to make them free of fertilizers.”

He, however, said traders and wholesalers engaged in vegetable and fruit business have little awareness about organic products and are not ready to pay higher prices.

“The farmers must get around 10% more for the organic products in comparison to the general products, but they are duped by the wholesalers and traders who quote lower prices. Due to this, the farmers are now engaging in direct selling at fairs and special organic markets,” Sanjeev Chauhan said.

PRODUCT FOR TOURISTS

Kushika, an MBA, left her job in a multinational company and set up an organic village resort, called Dyo, in Mukteshwar in Nainital district. She said they turned their ancestral land in the hills into the organic resort a year ago.

“We grow organic vegetables along with rajma, apples, apricots and peaches, and have the concept — pick your organic stuff from the field and give it to the chef for cooking.” Kushika said the resort has been getting a good response from tourists because of the organic tag.

Originally appeared on http://www.livehindustan.com/

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