Organic state

The Indian state of Sikkim is working towards the goal of  100% organic agriculture by 2015 .

Silently, this ecological hotspot of the eastern Himalayas has moved towards sustainable agriculture in a big way, covering almost 90% of its agricultural land. Use of chemical pesticide, insecticide or chemical inputs was slowed down as early as 2003 but what was awaited was blanket certification. Now, even that seems to be on the fast track. Of 70,000 hectares of arable land in Sikkim, 6000 hectares is already organic-certified. By 2015, Sikkim aims to be completely organic certified.

Organic farming combines ecologically-sound modern technology with traditional agricultural practices including crop rotation, green manure and biological pest control to ensure reduction or total elimination of chemical inputs. In several parts of Sikkim, farmers have succeeded in growing completely organic maize, paddy, ginger, cardamom and turmeric while expanding the practices to other horticultural crops.

The first step came in May 2003, when the state government withdrew the subsidy on fertilizers. From 2006-07 onwards, the transport and handling subsidy and commission to the retailer was also withdrawn. Alongside, the government also adopted a seven-year plan to phase out use of chemical fertilizers, by gradually replacing these with organic sources.

“The government had taken the decision because it had seen the adverse impact of chemical fertilizers on our soil, water and on human health, considering ours is a biodiversity hotspot,” says S K Gautam, secretary in the department of food security and agriculture.

Wonderful to see the concerted , sustained , planned efforts to make an entire state organic . Yet another reason to visit this beautiful spot of the pale blue dot we inhabit.

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2 Responses to “Organic state”

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