Rajya Sabha TV: In Depth – Sikkim India’s First Organic State
(TOPIC COVERED: GENERAL STUDIES III)
India’s first organic state Sikkim has won the ‘Oscar for best policies’ conferred by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for the world’s best policies promoting agro-ecological and sustainable food systems. The ‘Future Policy Award’ received by the Chief Minister of Sikkim Pawan Kumar Chamling in Rome on 15 Oct 2018 recognised the state’s leadership and political will to lead by example. The award was co-organized by FAO, World Future Council and IFOAM- Organics International.
Organic farm produce in Sikkim, India
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANISATION (FAO)
- It is a specialized agency of the United Nations, serving both developed and developing countries that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
- It was formed on 16 October 1945 in Quebec, Canada and has its headquarters in Rome, Italy.
- It helps developing countries to modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security.
- Organic farming uses naturally occurring substances for farming while prohibiting the use of synthetic substances which enhances agro-ecosystem health (biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity.
- Organic farming movement was started in 1940s as a reaction to use of synthetic substances in agriculture. The term ‘organic farming’ was coined by Lord Northbourne in his book ‘Look to the Land’.
- Organic produce contain less or no chemicals and are safest to consume.
- It relies on organic or natural fertilisers. Examples – Compost manure, Green manure, Bone meal.
- It places emphasis on techniques like Crop rotation (practise of growing a series of different types of crops in the same area in subsequent seasons) and Companion planting (planting of different crops in proximity).
- Biological pest control mixed cropping and nurturing insect predators are encouraged.
- Organic farming protects long term fertility of soil, provides crop nutrients by soil micro-organisms, Nitrogen self-sufficiency through the use of legumes and biological Nitrogen fixation, disease and pest control, livestock management and protects overall environment.
- It prevents the use of modern agricultural methods that are harmful for human health.
ORGANIC MARKETIN INDIA
- India placed at number 9 in the world, has 1.49 million hectares of organic farmland (2016 data).
- India is reported to have largest number of organic producers in the world.
- India exports over 300 organic products in 20 different countries.
- India is the largest exporter of organic cotton
- Current Indian organic market in 2018 is estimated at Rs 4000 crore and is likely to increase to Rs 10,000-12,000 crore by 2020.
- But local consumption of organic produce in India has a market share of less than 1%.
- Increasing support from the Government has been the key reason for growth of organic farming in India. Increasing health awareness among the people, technological development, etc are other favourable reasons.
- Innovative technological solutions like Artificial Intelligence, renewable energy, etc are being developed by private companies for the organic food industry.
JOURNEY OF SIKKIM TOWARDS A 100% ORGANIC STATE
- 2003: Sikkim adopted a resolution to switch to organic farming.
- Organic farming to ensure soil fertility, protection of environment and ecology.
- Healthy living, decreasing the risk of health ailments.
- Policy phased out chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
- Achieved a total ban on sale and use of chemicals and pesticides in the state.
- Sikkim stopped imports of chemical fertilisers.
- Farmers using organic manure.
- 2010: Sikkim Organic Mission launched that provided seeds and manure and trained farmers in organic farming practices.
- Organic farming is also attracting large number of tourists to the state.
Despite the efforts done by some of the policies by the Government, organic farming has not been able to enter the agriculture mainstream in India. Government along with private players needs to make a robust framework and overcome infrastructural and technological challenges in developing organic farming to a greater level. Sikkim has set an example in this field which other states may follow.