We know that Sikkim has become a 100% organic state with no chemical pesticides, fertilizers and GMOs. This matters because it shows that organic food in an entire region is possible.
How Sikkim became a fully organic state?
In 2003, due to chemically intensive, conventional farming methods, the Himalayan state’s food production faced serious environmental and health problems. As a solution, the Chief Minister of Sikkim, Pawan Chamling, announced his vision for Sikkim to be India’s first organic state. And on January 18th, 2016, at Sikkim’s Organic Festival, the Prime Minister of India declared the state fully organic.
How did this happen?
Chief Minister Chamling got reelected five times, so he oversaw the entire process. Farmers had time to prepare for the change, and support to do so. The state gradually banned chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. The Sikkim Organic Mission Project, the state’s organic policy, spread awareness about why, what, and how the mission would be accomplished. Millions of Indian viewers were introduced to the project through a popular talk show in 2012.
Organic farming was added as a subject in schools. Farmers attended required training on organic farming led by organic experts and scientists. And they began using natural alternatives, such as compost and manure made from dung, decayed leaves, and dry grasses. The Sikkim government helped make organic seeds and manures more available, helped farmers market their produce, and even sent some farmers outside the state for advanced training. They committed fully to make their vision happen. And it did.
Why organic food is important?
Organic agriculture is important for our health and the future of our world. It’s needed to sustainably feed the world. It carries far fewer toxic pesticide residues, and is grown using no GMOs. It doesn’t poison farmworkers or the micro-organisms living in the soil that produce healthy, drought-resistant crops. Organic farming is also better suited to climate change, protects biodiversity, enhances soil fertility, and, to top it off, organic foods are more nutritious and taste better.
You can in fact grow your own food at home and even convert your kitchen waste to compost. You can make a difference by making your household a more eco friendly one.
How Sikkim is benefiting from becoming an organic state?
Sikkim’s transition to an organic state is good for public health and the environment in the area. It’s also good for the economy. Tourism to the area is also increasing and bringing in more money. Guests can stay in organic villages, where they are able to enjoy the abundant natural beauty and eat fresh, organic meals.
How Sikkim’s achievement affects the world.
India is a place with high rates of pesticide use. As a result, it is a nation tragically marked by very high rates of farmer suicides; of children dying from pesticide laced food. But Sikkim can serve as a model to help other states go organic. Indian states, including Kerala, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh are already working towards becoming organic.
What do you think about the future of organic food? Have you considered switching to organic products? Share your thoughts with us.