In 2003, a beautiful state nestled in the Himalayan Mountains of India decided to go back to the basics and started its organic farming journey. In just 15 years, the state completely transformed its farming practices. From including organic farming in the school curriculum to providing farmers with the right information they needed to complete the transition, the state facilitated everything. The government even bore the costs of getting the land certified as organic for first few years. And today, it has become India’s first 100% organic state. This is the story of Sikkim – and it’s a living proof of the fact that going organic in no way means reduced productivity.
But wait, what does it exactly mean to be 100% organic?
From vegetables to fruits to grains, all food products in Sikkim are now cultivated without the use of any chemical pesticides, fertilizers or GMOs. The entire state’s farming practices have been certified organic by agencies accredited by Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority. A total cultivatable land of 58,168 hectares in Sikkim is now producing nearly 800,000 tons of chemical free, organic, and healthy food. Which basically means that organic and healthy food will no longer be limited to a select few. Such large-scale and successful organic transformation is a testament to the possibilities that sustainable farming holds for our future.
Let’s read on to find out what we can learn from Sikkim’s success.
- Perseverance is the key
Nothing big and consequential happens in one day. It took Sikkim 15 years, relentless pursuit, and collective commitment to write its success story. The key to enabling successful change is to never give up.
- Unity is strength
Sikkim’s organic transformation wasn’t a top-down phenomenon. From chief minister to farmers to the current generation, it involved everyone. And the reason this story inspired waves of change across the world is that the state’s population understood exactly why they needed to go organic and how to make it happen.
- Going back to the basics is the only way forward
Sikkim is a land of diverse flora and fauna. The state has some of the most unique wild-animal and insect habitats in the world. Exploiting and destroying the nature to sustain itself was not an option for Sikkim. And they found a way to co-exist and flourish.
This is the promise of organic farming – a world where we live in harmony with nature. And Sikkim is proof that it’s possible. We only need to ask ourselves – Are we willing to play this small part, and make a change?
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