Amul plans to launch organic products, open haats, and establish a "green college"
Amul is creating testing, distribution, and marketing infrastructure for both organic and natural farming goods, according to RS Sodhi
Amul will soon produce organic "aata," rice, honey, chocolates, and potato goods in India's nascent Rs 2,000-crore organic food industry, according to RS Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF).
It also intends to establish a "green college" in Anand to educate young farmers about organic and natural farming, as well as "organic haats" throughout Gujarat to market and sell organic products.
"We are also designing a logo for these organic products. It will be made public soon," Sodhi said on the sidelines of the Gujarat government's co-operation department's "chintan shibir," a two-day brainstorming session for state government employees, held at the Sardar Patel Institute of Public Administration (SPIPA) in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
Amul is creating testing, distribution, and marketing infrastructure for both organic and natural farming products, according to Sodhi. GCMMF also wants to establish a laboratory to evaluate 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 decision to enter the organic food marketing category comes after Union Co-operation Minister Amit Shah urged the dairy powerhouse to spearhead a drive to develop testing, distribution, and marketing infrastructure for organic products in the country during his visit to Anand in November 2021.
Sodhi distinguished between organic and natural farming, claiming that both systems were free of artificial 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.
Amul will establish a green college in Anand in collaboration with the Tribhovandas Foundation, a philanthropic trust formed by Amul's founder chairman, Tribhovandas Patel.
"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.
State minister for cooperation (independent charge) Jagdish Vishwakarma, cabinet minister for agriculture and animal husbandry Raghavji Patel, minister of state for fisheries Jitu Chaudhari, and minister of state for agriculture Mukesh Patel were all present at the chintan shibir.
"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.
Amul will also establish up "organic haats" across Gujarat where producers can sell directly to consumers, as well as provide an e-commerce platform to existing organic players, he said.
According to Sodhi, organic farming is practised on about 2.6 lakh acres in India, with Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra accounting for 40% and 22% of the total area under organic farming, respectively, while Gujarat has only 3%.
"The market of organic products in India is worth Rs 23,000 crore, of which the market for organic food is just Rs 2,000 crore, while products worth Rs 7,000 crore are exported. Most of it is soybean extracts worth Rs 4,000 crore," he added.