A Trip To India’s Organic State – Sikkim
Sikkim is a north-eastern state of India crowned by the Himalayas above. The state holds several glories:
- It has the second highest suspension bridge in Asia.
- Red Panda is the state animal, which is an endangered species.
- Not only animals, Sikkim is also a habitat for 533 species of birds and 690 varieties of butterflies.
Blah, Blah Blah yes many of us know this. But did you know that it’s The First Organic State In India? In January 2016 the Prime Minister of India declared Sikkim an organic state.
That’s right, it’s a small mountain state that has converted around 75,000 hectares of cultivable land into certified organic farms. This makes Sikkim an organic state.
More often than not, big changes have to start with small steps. An agrarian economy like ours might have several laurels under their belt, but when Sikkim became India’s first fully organic state, it paved a clear path for the country to follow.
Now, let’s get deep into the Journey that made Sikkim an organic state.
Where Did This Journey Start?
The state took several initiatives towards organic farming which started to wane in the drastic aftermath of the green revolution movement of the Indian government. It propagated the use of pesticides and other chemical ingredients to increase the agricultural produce.
While the movement to improve agricultural productivity was a success in making India a leading agricultural producer, the farming techniques took a toll on the soil and affected the ecology as well. From soil degradation, excessive water consumption and the presence of chemical toxins in the food chain, it created a wreckage to the biosphere. This made the state choose the organic path and travel through it, to make Sikkim a completely organic state.
Was It A Happy Journey?
To make this journey happy and successful, the government and people extended complete cooperation and dedication. The farmers were educated by The Sikkim Organic Mission Project and were given enough time to prepare. They realized that they might have to face a few years of losses during the transition period, but they were on board with the government.
In 2003, after Pawan Kumar Chamling, the Chief Minister of Sikkim, put forth a vision to make Sikkim, India’s first fully organic state, the state together with its farmers went ahead and just did that. They showed their support by re-electing Pawan Chamling five times that gave him enough time to oversee the project in its entirety. He ensured he gave wings to his dreams and made Sikkim an organic state.
The Project, along with its movement to spread awareness, made organic seeds and natural manures available to the farmers easily and even helped them get advanced training from other states of the nation. The state also banned chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers gradually and in 2016 it made the use of chemical pesticides a criminal offence, that could carry a fine up to Rs.100, 000/- and imprisonment of three months.
The Organic Journey of Sikkim
It all began with the farmers and Sikkim’s landscape that got eventually came to be organic. Sikkim has predominantly a mountainous terrain, the state’s 66000 farmers took part in the state-run movement for 100% organic farming.
Organic farming meant that the produce will have no chemical pesticides or GMOs (genetic modification). Finally, in January 2016 the Prime Minister of India declared that Sikkim is India’s first fully sikkim an organic state, during the grand Sikkim Organic Festival.
Some Good Showers On Sikkim Tourism
Sikkim’s journey in becoming an organic state has not only befriended the agriculture sector but also has a great impact on tourism. As we all know, Sikkim-Gangtok-Darjeeling is the most sought tourist triangle to many across the world. This has helped the state to stretch it’s organic umbrella even further. There are facilities that the guests can use to experience and stay in an organic community or village. They can also attend training classes on organic farming during their stay, along with the fresh organic produce to consume, while enjoying Sikkim’s natural and scenic beauty. They are also allowed to pluck, cook and eat fresh – the organic crops are grown near their place of stay.
Further, the state has set up stores that sell only organic produce. Some of the major crops that bear the organic seal are cardamom, ginger, buckwheat, turmeric, off-season vegetables, flowers, Sikkim mandarin, kiwi, paddy maize and millet, which are found to have several health benefits lately.
Organic Friends Of Sikkim
India still uses about 67 pesticides that have been long banned in many other countries. But, Sikkim’s achievement has made a positive impact on the other states of the nation. Being an epitome for the entire country, Sikkim allies with the organic states of countries like California and Wisconsin. Other states of India have also started to place their first step towards the organic destination with Sikkim as an inspiration. Kerala takes the next place followed by Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
Andhra has slowly started its contribution towards organic farming. Known for several crop cultivation, the state is also extending its interests in the organic rearing of eggs and chicken. We, at Sowbhaagya Group from Hyderabad, have been interestedly involved in the production of organic & all natural Ayur Eggs, which are loaded with health benefits and bred using organic practices. Our hens lay healthy all natural eggs free from toxins, hormones, steroids & antibiotics.
It seems to be the case with everyone going organic, all our neighbours have started to grow their own crops organically on their terraces too. Now, it’s your turn to start with this wonderful venture.
Hope you enjoyed this journey of an organic state of Sikkim with us. Now it’s time you start working towards an organic revolution too. Start with what our ancestors did right, their farming practices and food style, let’s join our hands together to embrace organic farming practices, live healthy & happy.
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