In the process of creating marketing linkages hurdles were a plenty, says Manoj Kumar Menon, Executive Director ICCOA. “We took up this challenge and started a pilot project sometime back for ‘Organic vegetables production’ in villages of the three taluks of Bangalore Rural – Chickballapur, Doddaballapur and Devanahalli. The challenge begins from the time Farmer decides to go “Organic”, as in the initial periods of “in conversion” the farmers’ produce cannot be marketed as “Certified Organic”. Without the certification, the consumer doesn’t accept the crop as “Organic”. This is a delicate transformation as there is a likelihood of drop in yields during the initial phase, and farmers need to be supported with better prices”.
ICCOA adopts the process of deploying trained field staff in organic practices to communicate the benefits of Organic Agriculture to the farmers. So far it has been successful and has enrolled 120 farmers to cover 150 hectares under vegetable cultivation in these three villages. Thus, the organic vegetables are collected and graded into A, B and C. While grades A & B are meant for the retail chains with ICCOA labeling. While grade C is taken to the nearby markets and sold as conventional vegetables. The label of ICCOA was created with the leverage of consumers’ fear around quality of food, keeping e the core theme safety, ‘Healthy’, and ‘Chemical-