India’s First Organic State

sikkim

Tea plantations on the hillside. PHOTO: Reuters/ Rupak De Chowdhuri

The buzzword is organic. From grocery store shelves to textile designers to travel. At the center of this phenomenon is respect to the land, cognizance of the immense potential of living organisms, acknowledgement of a way of life that has restorative powers. Today, India hears that message loud and clear in the North-eastern hill state of Sikkim.

Sikkim, the northeastern Indian state snuggled between Bhutan and Nepal, has now rid its agricultural land of pesticides and fertilizers making it the country’s first organic state.

The 75,000-hectare area was transformed as per the policies of the Indian government’s National Programme for Organic Production, meant to promote organic farming. This form of agriculture typically avoids the use of pesticides, fertilisers, genetically modified crops, and other artificial inputs. Instead, farmers use natural alternatives such as green manure and compost.

For long, India has grappled with challenges relating to the safety of pesticides and fertilisers. Much of that was a result of the Green Revolution, an initiative launched in the late 1960s to increase food production. This led to an increase in the use of modified seeds, fertilisers and pesticides, but also had socioeconomic cost due toenvironmental damages.

Read more here.

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