It takes a lot of conviction on the part of the farmer to convert from chemical farming practices to organic farming. Based on our expertise and numerous interactions that we had with the farmers, some of the questions that keep playing on top of the farmers mind are:
- Will my yield decrease?
- What additional expenses do I as a farmer have to incur?
- What are the costs of cultivation?
- Who can I (as a farmer) reach out for any technical assistance and guidance on how to control pests, weeds, harvesting etc
These are some of the questions that we get from the farmers during the trainings, and we try and address those questions during the trainings. However not all aspects can be covered in one day or two day trainings and when the farmer has plunged to grow using organic practices, s/he will have a lot of questions.
Imagine a scenario, when the farmer is facing a pest problem that can potentially wipe out her/his crop, the easiest and most tempting solution would be to walk across to the pesticide shop and buy some pesticides and control the pests, that is the moment of truth !!!
At TruTrade, we understand these challenges and we as an organization have invested and committed both money and effort to address some of the dilemma’s that our farmers face. So, let’s cut the mumbo-jumbo and talk about what research efforts is TruTrade is doing to address these issues that have a tangible impact on the farmers lives and their abilities to convert and grow organic:
Development of organic package of practices
Organic package of practices (POP’s) is like the bible / bhagavad gita / quran for a particular crop. The POP contain and address all aspects for a particular crop. It details in minutest details of the following aspects i) climate and soil requirement ii) cropping season and duration iii) Cropping pattern iv) popular varieties of a crop in different states v) field preparation vi) seed selection and seed treatment vii) nursery preparation viii) nutrient management ix) weed management: x) water management xi) pest and disease management: covers both preventive and reactive measures xii) harvesting methods xiii) post harvesting methods xiv) cost-of-cultivation.
So, you might ask, aren’t these already developed by different agriculture universities / companies already, why is TruTrade re-inventing the wheel. Well folks, here is the surprise for you, NO there is NOT much research material already published on organic, you will be surprised on how little research material there is out there that is freely and openly (open-source) available and shared. TruTrade takes pride in the fact that not only have we invested our efforts into the development of this but we also collaborate and share such research material freely with all interested. We don’t charge a single penny for this !!!
Development of organic raw material specifications:
Higher price for their produce is what the farmers expect, however when the farmers take their produce to the mandi or to a collection centre, quite a few times there is a lot of disappointment faced by the farmers when they are told that their produce is not good enough. Many a times the rejection is not because their produce is less organic but it is because of the aesthetic / appearance of their produce. For example if there are black spots on fruits or vegetables, it does not make the fruits or vegetables any less nutritious or less tasty, it’s just that they are not aesthetically looking good.
We personally don’t have a problem purchasing fruits or vegetables that have black spots, but we have been conditioned to think that the fruits and vegetables are not good because there are black spots. Most customers and definitely the sourcing managers and sourcing departments of large departmental stores give undue appearance to the aesthetics. We can keep arguing till the cows come home and while we strongly disagree we thought it is better to put together organic raw material specifications that can help farmers take care of the aesthetics aspects and in return gain higher price for their produce. To be honest we cannot address all aspects of the aesthetics however the intent of putting together the ORMS’s is to train the farmers on some of the qualitative aspects of what a typical mandi trader or a sourcing department in a retail store would look to when they are making a purchase decisions.
Demystifying of the complexity of organic standards
Before you proceed, please take a look at the below EU organic standards.
We are sure after glancing through the document, you got overwhelmed about the organic standards, the above document is just one portion / aspect of the certification standards and not in it’s entirety. Now imagine a farmer who is given such documents and asked to adhere to these standards, the farmer would quit farming 😊 😊 😊.
We come across quite a few experienced farmers and during our discussions with them we realize how mistaken / ignorant they are of the organic standards. So TruTrade has developed and assists farmers in demystifying the complexity of organic standards. When TruTrade field officers inspect the farmers, our field officers are equipped with simple checklists that ensure that the farmers confirm to the US, EU, India Third party certification and India PGS certification standards.
Ad-hoc research and presentations for seminars
On a case by case basis TruTrade research team gets involved in publication of multiple research papers for seminars, conferences and symposiums. Just to give a glimpse, one of papers that our researchers published got published for the prestigious National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) conference. NAMA preserves, protects and promotes the practice of Ayurveda. Please find attached the research article that got selected for the conference.
We also partner with farmers, academia and researches to collaborate on any research topics that potentially can make a tangible impact on the lives of the farmers.
TruTrade’s research division is headed by Dr. Ambika Thandoni, she also serves on TruTrade’s Board of Directors.
To know more about our research focus, please email us to firstname.lastname@example.org