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Amanda Froelich

Sikkim has converted some 75,000 hectares of agricultural land to certified organic land. Photo:http://icar.org.in

Amazing news! Sikkim has become India’s first fully organic state. According to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the monumental achievement was a result of implementing organic practices on around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land.

Sikkim Organic Mission's executive director Dr. Anbalagan said: “We have achieved fully-organic status in the end of December.” Twelve years ago, the Pawan Chamling-led government decided to make Sikkim an organic farming state through a declaration of the legislative assembly, reports PTI News.

Since then, 75,000 hectares of agricultural land have been gradually converted to certified organic land by implementing organic practices and principles, as was outlined in the National Programme for Organic Production.

Since 2003, allowance for chemicals to be used on farmland has been restricted and, shortly after, their sale banned. Farmers had no option but to go organic (is that how it’s done?).

This means that all produce cultivated in the state of Sikkim is free of chemical pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and has been grown in a way to ensure a more harmonious ecosystem.

The benefits of growing crops naturally are numerous. According to agriculture secretary Khorlo Bhutia, “In the long term, organic farming leads in subsistence of agriculture, biodiversity conservation and environmental protection.”

Sustainable farming will also help build the soil health, which result in sustainable increased crop production. In addition, by becoming the first 100% organic state in India, Sikkim expects an increase of tourism to the tiny landlocked Himalayan state.

The trend to ‘go organic’ has been increasing in recent years – and for good reason. Pesticides and herbicides (especially Monsanto’s RoundUp which contains glyphosate, a toxic carcinogen), have been shown to adversely affect health.

A small initiative started by the visionary Chief Minister of Sikkim, it sparked off a movement and swiftly put the Indian organic agricultural movement on a fast track. The area under organic certification process increased by 25 folds during 2003-04 to 2009-10.

Currently, India ranks 33rd in terms of total land under organic cultivation and 80th position for agriculture land under organic crops to total farming area.

The Government of India has implemented the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP), whose standards for production and accreditation system have been recognized by European Commission and Switzerland as equivalent to their country standards.

Similarly, USDA has recognized NPOP conformity assessment procedures of accreditation as equivalent to that of US. With these recognitions, Indian Organic products duly certifiied by the accredited certification bodies of India are accepted by the importing countries.

Indian organic products are mainly exported to EU, US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, South Africa and Middle East.

Source:trueactivist.com

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