Theorganic food market is growing rapidly all around the world, particularly theWestern part of the world (Europe, North America, Japan and Australia inparticular). In the total food market, the share of this segment is expected tobe much more, or around 10 percent in the near future. Expectations of growthare featured and highlighted not only by strong increasing consumer awarenessof health and environmental issues but also by more goal-oriented andaggressive marketing and promotion by the major business or retail parties.Jammu and Kashmir have a unique advantage for organic walnut cultivation, asthe traditional cultivation practices followed by the farmers in the valley arefundamentally organic in nature. The growing demand for "organic food" indeveloped countries like USA, Europe, and Japan for their beinghealth-conscious represents an additional export and trade opportunities for walnutgrown in Jammu and Kashmir. Walnut in the shell alongside kernel which meetsrequired specifications and certification sought by the accredited agencies isorganic. Although the harvested walnuts come from the certified production zonebut at the time of processing, we need to take precautions for ensuring thatthe nuts are stored, transported and processed properly that is distinct fromconventional nuts. No chemical product should be used for processing andready-packed nuts must be traceable or observable back to the growers.
Itshould be ensured that the quantities and origin of organic food are clearlydetermined on the basis of supply lines and that they tally with the dataprovided by the production regions. These checks are specified in EC regulationand guarantee compliance with the standards applicable to products ofecological agriculture. It is good that the organic food market is growingrapidly all around the world, especially in the developed countriesdemonstrating various trade opportunities for agriculturists in Jammu andKashmir. The place, time and form utilities for organic crops (specificallywalnut) are not being addressed which results in the poor returns to thegrowers. The forecasting of price during different periods of its availabilityin the market could help farmers in disposing of their fruit to the marketswhere the prices would be better and remunerative. Interference of too manymiddlemen at different stages of marketing of the fruit is yet again anotherproblem that reduces market efficiency and increases marketing costs and henceit demands attention. In this framework, proper market intelligence system isexpected to go a long way in addressing the problems pertaining to the disposalof organic crops from the place of its production to different markets of thecountry and help producers in getting remunerative prices.
Agood knowledge of organic goods along with marketing awareness is veryessential for growing adequate demand for organic food. Businesses andproducers aiming to develop markets for organic food and create value additionsto their final goods and services, and increase profits should not only lookfor its economic side but environmental and health side equally. Organicfarming tools must be developed for checking the carbon-based essentials offood that moves from the producers to end users for its final consumption. Themarket analysts who regularly observe the market need to have a mental grasp ofboth organic and inorganic farming so that they can clearly distinguish theiradvantages and disadvantages.
BinishQadri is ICSSR Doctoral Fellow pursuing Ph.D. in Economics at Department ofEconomics, Central University of Kashmir.