January 15th, 2016
Image Courtesy: triplepundit
The north eastern state of Sikkim will be the country’s first state to produce everything from maize and rice to orchid and ginger through organic farming.The 77,000 hectares of agricultural land where both agricultural and horticultural crops such as rice, maize, orchids, cardamom, ginger, mandarin are grown is certified by the government to be free from chemicals.
“We have achieved fully organic status in the end of December. PM Narendra Modi will finally announce this at a sustainable agriculture conference in Gangtok on January 18th”, Sikkim’s organic Mission’s executive director Dr.Anbalagan told the press.
The organic farming in Sikkim will further be accelerated with three daysNational Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
The important highlights of this program will focus on “Sikkim’s Organic Festival” and All India national conference on “Sustainable agriculture and farmers welfare”. The conference will be attended by the ministers and officers, scientists, bankers, experts and practitioners from all around the globe. Thus, their valuable suggestions and recommendations are to be considered. They will discuss different aspects of organic farming like the efficient use of soil and water, higher per unit yields, remunerative prices on products, risk coverage and the negative aspects of climate change.
The foundations of “Sikkim Organic Movement state 2015” was laid in 2003 by PawanChamling led government by declaring to go organic by the end of 2015 in the state Legislative assembly.
The Organic Mission Programme is to be carried out by the Union Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare with support of Union Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and in collaboration with the State Government of Sikkim.
Image Courtesy: hungryforever
The land was made organic by implementing organic practices and principles as per guidelines laid down in National Programme for Organic Production.
The Sikkim government is planning to launch several schemes to stimulate organic farming. They will set up a 300 Metric tonne Bio Fertilizer plant in the state to cater the needs of the farmers. Besides, cold storage will be made in every Gram Panchayat to prevent the rotting of organic products. Also a Marketing centre and Auction house will be established in the state.
Recently the Organic Farmers Market was opened up in Gangtok to encourage organic farming. The market aims at breaking the involvement of middlemen so that the farmers can anytime come and get the best value for their organic production.
The sales of Fertilizers and pest control are banned in the State. The guilty are liable to both fine of Rs. 1,00,000 and imprisonment of 3 years. The state is taking strict measures to make the farmers abide by the rules. The government set up two check-posts at the Sikkim- West Bengal border in Rangpo and Mellito to check the entry of the sneaking chemicals. Farmers then were left with no choice except to go for organic farming which in return turned beneficial to them.
If a small and sparsely populated state like Sikkim can do it, why can’t the whole North-East. The 7 sistershave the potential to become hub of organic farming since it has enormous available natural resources which needs to be channelized properly. This method of organic farming will not help to generate revenue but will also generate new employment opportunities and will be a great upliftment to India’s East policy.
“In the long term, organic farming leads in subsistence of agriculture, biodiversity conservation and environmental protection”, agriculture secretary KhorloBhutia said.
He also said that sustainable farming will help in building the soil health resulting in sustainable increased crop production
Sikkim is also set to inaugurate its Greenfield Airport at Pakyong which is expected to become functional by 2017. This will be one of the most beautiful destinations in the region and will definitely boost tourism.
The state also conducts several events, such as flower festivals and organic trade to nurture the organic farming. Resorts have already been marketing themselves as completely organic where tourist can pluck fresh fruits & vegetables for themselves.
Sikkim has not only attracted centre’s attention but also drawn international admiration for the organic farming. It has set the stage for other states to go organic as well.
– Pulkit Benada