State in India Goes 100% Organic, Protects 75,000 Hectares of Land from GMOs
Maintaining agricultural sustainability
As of the end of December, 2015, Sikkim has become India’s first fully organic state in the country. Implementing organic farming practices on 75,000 hectares of land, the citizens of Sikkim will enjoy GMO-free, sustainable agriculture which will be certified organic.
“We have achieved fully-organic status in the end of December. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will formally announce this at a sustainable agriculture conference in Gangtok on January 18,” said Sikkim Organic Mission’s executive director Dr. Anbalagan.
The many thousands of hectares of land have been gradually converted to certified-organic land by following guidelines specified in the National Program for Organic Production. This has been a process underway since 2003, when the Pawan Chamling-led government declared Sikkim to be an organic farming state in the legislative assembly.
Slowly, chemicals such as non-organic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides used in conventional farming were lessened, and eventually banned. This left farmers with no other option, except to farm organically.
Secretary Khorlo Bhutia says this will preserve the soil, maintain agricultural sustainability, and support bio-diversity. He also expects that tourism will increase in the landlocked, Himalayan state, due to these organic farming practices. Resorts located in Sikkim are already using their certified organic status to entice travelers to pick their own vegetables for dinner, straight from hotel and resort gardens.
Considering the demand for organic food worldwide, Sikkim should enjoy not only increased tourism, but also increased pride by local citizens who are becoming involved in taking care of the planet and its sentient life in a proper way.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.