Traditional Meal in Sikkim, India

All of Sikkim’s farmland has been certified organic under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) regulations by the end of 2015. “Sikkim has already achieved that feat of living in harmony with nature, and is therefore a model of development which also protects nature,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

Under NPOP guidelines and the government program Sikkim Organic Mission, it took 12 years to convert the Himalayan state into the first 100 % organic state of India, eliminating pesticides, chemical fertilizers and GMOs, and working closely with the local ecosystem to preserve biodiversity and prevent erosion.

Sikkim’s organic mission started in 2003, when its Chief Minister Pawan Chamling declared his intent to make Sikkim India’s first organic state. Chamling has been reelected five times, so he was able to oversee the entire process. First, the state officially banned the sale of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, forcing its farmers to go organic. And it ran a number of events like a two-day workshop in March 2010 where organic experts and scientists advised farmers on making the transition. But Sikkim’s organic switch is not just good for public health; it’s also good for the economy as organic produce has higher profit margins for farmers, reports the Huffington Post.

Sikkim organic festival 2016

To mark this special achievement, the State Government is organizing Sikkim Organic Festival 2016 from 18th to 20th January, 2016 to mark the completion of organic certification of all agricultural land and for formal declaration of Sikkim’s achievement of 100% organic status as per National standards. The festival is also hosted to sustain organic movement in Sikkim, and spread the message of organic movement to other States, explains the official website.

The farmers of Sikkim should gain wider exposure to global and national trends in organic markets, and get greater market access. Sikkim should be positioned as India’s, and perhaps world’s, first 100% organic State, and established as a trend setter at the global level, says Sikkim Organic Mission. Furthermore it is planned to enable Sikkim to attract tourism in general, specifically eco-tourism, sustainable and responsible tourism.

Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the Sikkim Organic Festival 2016

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, inaugurated the Sikkim Organic Festival 2016, at January 18. He addressed the Plenary Session of the National Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Farmers Welfare at Gangtok in Sikkim. The Prime Minister digitally launched the logo of Sikkim Organic and handed it over to the Chief Minister of Sikkim, Shri Pawan Chamling.

In his address, the Prime Minister paid homage to former Governor of Sikkim, Shri Rama Rao. He praised Sikkim Chief Minister Shri Pawan Chamling for his vision of welfare for farmers and tribes. He credited this vision for the development that the State is witnessing, and said the welfare and development issues raised by the Chief Minister would be looked into by the Union Government.

The Prime Minister described Sikkim as an example of resolve despite difficulties and struggle, towards organic agriculture. He said today the whole world had recognized this effort of the farmers of Sikkim. He said the winds of this organic effort would now spread across the country.

Organic exports would receive a huge boost with the building of an airport in Sikkim. He said the vision behind rural roads was also to connect agricultural produce with markets. He said tree plantation and animal husbandry should also become an integral part of farming activities.

The Prime Minister suggested that a digital online platform of progressive farmers should be developed in each State (partial translation of Prime Minister Modi´s speech).

Prime Minister Modi’s speech at the Inauguration of State Agriculture Minister’s Conference in Sikkim (in Hindi)

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