Sikkim, India’s first 100% organic state

From a bold Risk to Rewards after 13 years of sustained efforts

Today, the whole world is obsessed with eating clean and organic. While the struggle still persists, there is an organic spirit running high amid the lofty Himalayan state of Sikkim in India. A smaller state with bigger dreams and vision achieved its milestone of becoming a 100% organic state was certified as one, on 18th January 2016 during the Sikkim Organic Festival. The venture of turning organic began in 2003, and it was an extended struggle and a risk worth taking. During the process of embracing the natural and organic method of farming, Sikkim invented many practical ideas without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Besides, there were growing numbers of young and dynamic entrepreneurs that contributed and inspired considerably in making the organic mission a successful one.

Himalayan Mission-Himalaya change in Action

It all began with a momentous declaration by the Chief Minister of Sikkim, Pawan Kumar Chamling in 2003, stating that Sikkim would return to natural and organic methods of farming. The state would shun fertilizers and chemical pesticides in agriculture. Despite the odds and hardships, the quaint state willingly embraced the organic farming procedure under the CM’s guidance. The initiative of transforming the total cultivable land of 58,168 hectares under organic farming began from 2010. Today, Sikkim has 75,000 hectares of organic agricultural land and remains a foremost democratic model in the world on Organic farming.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to Sikkim-PM takes pride to declare it as 100% organic state

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first visit to Sikkim-PM takes pride to declare it as 100% organic state

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Sikkim for the first time on 18th January in 2016. His visit to the Himalayan state was truly remarkable as the last state to be a part of India became the first state to be a 100% organic state. Starting from 2003, the Himalayan state conquered the odds by struggling for long 13 years to achieve the aspirations.

The Prime Minister handed over two awards to Chief Minister of Sikkim, Shri Pawan Kumar Chamling, for the journey towards organic farming. Besides, PM also gave over honors for 2 districts of Sikkim for obtaining 100% coverage of Soil health cards.

PM Narendra Modi honored Sikkim Chief Minister Shri Pawan Chamling for his vision of development for farmers and tribals.  He stated that the well-being and development issues suggested by the Chief Minister would be looked into by the Union Government. The Prime Minister called Sikkim as an example of reformation despite hardships towards organic agriculture. He said, today the whole world had noticed this hard work of the farmers of Sikkim. He told that the reports of this organic mission would now spread across the country.

He further added, Sikkim has already accomplished that act of living in unison with nature and is a symbol of development which also preserves nature.

Advantages of organic farming in Sikkim

  • Farmers are happy; youngsters are soaring up as entrepreneurs, trade is prospering with the constant brimming of tourist from all over the country to the state of Sikkim.
  • Nowadays, the order for Sikkim’s organic produce has risen and farmers in the state are now earning 20% more than they did beforehand.
  • The organic product of Sikkim, essentially vegetables, would not only fetch more value for the Sikkimese farmers but also offers increased advantages to the State.
  • Organic status is going to enhance the ecotourism of Sikkim. Tourism stakeholders of Sikkim are assured that Organic Mission, when combined with ecotourism, would be a dual fascination for tourists, especially at homestays.
  • Guests can not just appreciate the natural beauty of Sikkim but also gain health benefits by consuming freshest products from organic farms.
  • The agricultural land in Sikkim is relatively organic and also farmers of Sikkim are traditional users of organic manure. This can lead to ecological balance and prevent soil erosion and boosts soil fertility.
  • Sikkim Organic local stores have been inaugurated by Government of Sikkim in New Delhi and intend to start more in major cities of India to sell the organic produce of Sikkim.

Additional Facts and Information-

  • Over 75,000 hectares of farming land in Sikkim is now free of pesticides and chemicals.
  • Sikkim is home to 66,000 farmers, all of whom have quit using GMOs, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers.
  • Sikkim will ban the supply of Non-Organic produces in State from 31 March 2018.
  • Produce like millet/finger millet, onion, rapeseed, soya bean, mustard, potato, milk & packaged milk, garlic, and mustard oil cake, will meet the same end from March 31, 2019.
  • Sikkim’s organic farming assists as a research for the Indian government who is investigating if the statewide organic crop is reproducible in the greater scale.
  • The topography or land in Sikkim is not perfect for normal farming. Most of the farmers in the state have just 4 hectares or less of land, which they cultivate practicing terraced farming techniques due to the uneven features of the land.

Conclusion-

No, it’s not the powerful countries in the world, but it was Sikkim to be the first 100% organic certified state in India. On asking if the entire country can go organic or not, the answer would be “yes” because if the small Himalayan state can beat the odds, then why can’t the rest? Embracing the organic methods of farming can make a reasonably profitable living, inspires everyone to join the organic movement for the best of all and the world that we live in.

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