With the world moving towards healthier organic crops, our country, too, announced the Myanmar organic standards yesterday, which farmers and stakeholders engaged in organic farming need to follow. The Myanmar Organic Standards, which are based on the ASEAN organic standards, have been devised to supply safe and nutritious food to the people and to ensure farmers follow rules and standards for organic farming. Organic farming is a method of crop and livestock production that involves much more than choosing not to use pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics, and growth hormones. The principal goal of organic production is to develop enterprises that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment. ‘Certified organic’ is a term given to products produced according to organic standards and approved by a certifying body. A grower wishing to have his produce certified as organic has to apply to a certification body, requesting an independent inspection of the farm to verify that it meets the organic standards. Farmers, processors, and traders are each required to maintain the organic integrity of their product and to maintain a document trail for audit purposes. Products from certified organic farms are labelled and promoted as ‘certified organic’. Our country’s farmers and stakeholders are turning to organic farming. The organic standards generally prohibit products involving genetic engineering, synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, synthetic drugs, synthetic food processing aids and ingredients, and ionizing radiation. To harvest certified organic products, prohibited products and practices must not be used in farming. Organic farming presents many challenges. Organic cultivation of some crops is more challenging than others; however, nearly every type of crop can be produced organically. To boost the agricultural sector with safe crops, the country needs to tackle the challenges of erratic weather, capacity and technical know-how to produce value-added products, and dependence on foreign demand. For our agricultural produce, we have set the target of meeting the international standards in terms of safety and nutrition in the future, which will be mandatory. The change in the global agriculture sector has brought opportunities to our farmers. Our stakeholders and farmers are urged to adhere to our organic guidelines and standards as the time has come for us to improve our food standards so as to meet ASEAN standards and compete successfully in foreign markets.
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