I remember the trip I took to Sikkim back in 2018 when I was shocked to know how this place has adopted complete organic farming in its system. “You mean not even 1% of vegetables or fruits are affected with chemicals? That’s insane” I said to the local driver when he was describing everything about Sikkim with delight on the drive. “That’s right my dear, not even 0.0001%.”
Organic farming makes use of cow dung, compost manure, green manure, bio pesticide, earthworm manure, neem cake, residues and bacterial culture. The use of organic and fossil fertilizers instead of chemicals and insecticides keeps the soil fertile and reduces the risk of droughts. Truly, that’s something to aspire to have a sustainable future. But in a world where organic farming is costly and production plus efficiency is low, how did Sikkim not only integrate but thrived in this system? The answer is simple: It’s the government and their policies!
These are not those policies which are once written and never implemented constantly enough to produce positive results. This is a genuine and basic effort that they implemented seriously. The Government of Sikkim, stepped into the Organic Mission process in 2003, the year when it stopped imports of chemical fertilizers in the State. To make Sikkim an organic state, organic practices were implemented on around 75000 hectares of agricultural land. In this action plan, the Sikkim government prohibited the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The violation of this law could lead to imprisonment of 3 months including a fine of Rs. 1 lakh. The government initiated partnerships with many agricultural R&D organizations in the country and overseas including biological research from Switzerland. Bio villages were introduced where people are made aware of organic fertilizers. Organic manure was made available to all. In addition, nutrition management, techniques, pest management, and laboratories for farming were also introduced. Phew! That’s quite a lot of work.
Everyone needs some motivation to do the work seriously enough. What was the same for this government? Well, it’s the problem of rampant use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides after the Green Revolution. It affected agriculture along with water, air and land. Recognizing its adverse impact, Sikkim promoted organic farming.
Now if someone in your class, especially that special friend is excelling enough in her studies, that must bring some peer pressure to do the same right? The same happened to other states in Inda after witnessing the glory of organic farming in Sikkim. Many states like Uttarakhand and Tripura have set targets similar to Sikkim to go fully organic. India ranks first in the number of organic farmers and fourth in terms of area under organic farming (guess from majorly which state again!)
And the awards just back the claim up. In 2016, Sikkim was recognized as the “first organic state in the world and crime-free state with the best governance” by the world books of records in London. In 2018, Sikkim was honoured by The United Nation’s Fertilizer and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with an Oscar Award for its best policies to acquire 100% organic farming. This all leads me to think that a good environment, organic food and cute people around are all I need in my life to be successful enough. Sikkim is the best place to be then. When I shared the same with my mom, she just criticized “agh, those mountains will slide on your head”. And you know what? I can manage.
- Written by Kamalika Basu