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Entering the nascent Rs 2,000-crore organic food segment in India, Amul will soon launch organic “aata”, rice, honey, chocolates and potato products, said RS Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF).

It also plans to set up a “green college” at Anand to spread awareness about organic and natural farming among young generation of farmers, along with “organic haats” across Gujarat to market and sell organic products.

“We are also designing a logo for these organic products. It will be made public soon,” Sodhi told The Indian Express on the sidelines of a “chintan shibir” — a two-day brainstorming session for state government officials, organised by Gujarat government’s co-operation department at Sardar Patel Institute of Public Administration (SPIPA) in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.

According to Sodhi, Amul is designing testing, distribution and marketing infrastructure for both organic and natural farming products. GCMMF is also looking to set a laboratory that will test and certify organic products.

“Testing is big for us. If we offer a product under the Amul brand, we want it to properly tested and authenticated. Though costly, we are planning to set up a laboratory to test and certify organic products that we plan to source from farmers who are part of our district unions,” Sodhi added.

Amul’s move to enter the organic food marketing segment comes after Union Co-operation Minister Amit Shah during his visit to Anand in November 2021 urged the dairy behemoth to lead an initiative to create testing, distribution and marketing infrastructure for organic products in the country.

Differentiating organic farming and natural farming, Sodhi said both methods were free of chemical fertilisers. “Organic farming has an higher input cost in the form of bio fertilisers, etc., while natural farming has almost no input cost. Except this difference, both the methods are the same,” he added.

The green college in Anand will be set up by Amul, in association with Tribhovandas Foundation — a charitable trust founded by Tribhovandas Patel, the founder chairman of Amul.

“We are designing courses about organic and natural farming that will be offered at this college. It will also include demonstration projects and later when they finish their training, we will link them with the markets,” he added.

At the chintan shibir, Jagdish Vishwakarma, state minister for cooperation (independent charge), Raghavji Patel, cabinet minister for agriculture and animal husbandry, Jitu Chaudhari, minister of state for fisheries and Mukesh Patel, minister of state for agriculture, were present.

“Organic food is considered elite. It is bought by urban working couples who belong to higher income groups and are health conscious. The common man in India does not buy organic. It is currently a fad. The aim of Amul is to democratise organic food and make it available for the common man. We want to people to trust our products ,” Sodhi said.

Source : Indian Express feb 10 2022 by Avinash Nair