The small Indian state of Sikkim has been dedicated to organic farming since 2003. But last year, it was declared India’s first fully organic state by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This declaration came after Sikkim used approximately 75,000 hectares of agricultural land to implement organic solutions. This land is now certified as organic, in accordance with guidelines set by the National Programme for Organic Production.
Read on to learn more about Sikkim and how the state manages to stay fully organic.
The first steps towards an Organic State
The first step towards making Sikkim an organic state was to recognise its natural factors that made it an ideal location for organic farming. These included its topography, the local use of traditional farming systems, the diversity of its climatic conditions and the fact the local soil is rich in organic carbon.
Then, in 2003, the ‘Going for Organic Farming in Sikkim’ programme was prepared, along with the Sikkim State Organic Board, which prioritised the creation of new infrastructures and the mobilising of resources. From here, a seven-year plan was introduced to ban chemical fertilisers – gradually replacing them with organic plant nutrients.
The initiatives that propelled Sikkim’s progress
After the original ideas were introduced, it was time to take things further.
- In 2004, the production of organic manure began, replacing other compost.
- Between 2004 and 2006, two seed testing and processing units were introduced, as well as soil testing laboratories for studying soil health.
- The Centre of Excellence for Organic Farming was created.
- Starting in 2008, several organic certification programmes took place, with much of the land being certified by organisations such as the Department of Science and Technology and the Food Security and Agriculture Department.
- In 2010, a bio fertiliser production unit was put together, and the National Level Workshop was introduced in Sikkim’s villages.
- Later that year, a plan for the adoption of fully organic farming was put into place, known as the Sikkim Organic Mission.
It was all of this that led Sikkim to the outstanding point it has reached today.
Maintaining the state for the future
To ensure Sikkim stays green in the long term, there are a few additional initiatives that have been introduced to the state.
- Firstly, animals are no longer allowed to graze in the reserve forest in order to conserve natural resources. There are still plenty of other spaces for animals to graze, while protecting this land.
- Plastic bags have been banned, encouraging shoppers to take their own bags to the store to cut down on plastic manufacturing and waste.
- The State Green Mission was launched, which includes planting fruit bearing trees, plantation drives and more.
The result of all the work put into Sikkim is a state that proves we can live a more environmentally, sustainable lifestyle.
While it may take some time for the larger towns, cities and states across India to catch up and find a way to go fully organic, Sikkim is a brilliant example of what we can do to live a kinder, greener lifestyle that protects Planet Earth.