Fully Organic State in India: Sikkim

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 2, 2023, 16:32

Sikkim has just become the world's first organic state! Other states, such as Tripura and Uttarakhand, are following suit, establishing similar goals and achieving them. Sikkim also is the first organic state in India.

When the COVID pandemic struck India, access to high-quality food was as important to the country as health. India accepted the challenge and rose to the occasion. According to a government statement, India now ranks first in terms of the number of organic farmers and ninth in the area under organic cultivation. It's a win-win-win situation for farmers, customers, and the environment. All of this led to India’s first fully organic state: Sikkim.

Compared to the rest of the country, farming in the North East has always been organic, with low chemicals/fertilisers. Tribal and island areas are now being cultivated to continue their organic storey. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, programmes like Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD) and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), which were launched in 2015 to encourage chemical-free farming, have aided farmers in adopting organic farming practises and increasing remunerations due to premium prices.

Benefits of a Fully Organic State in India

Furthermore, India can become a crucial player in global organic markets, according to the Agri-export Policy 2018. Flax seeds, sesame, soybean, tea, medicinal plants, rice, and pulses are among India's major organic exports, contributing to an almost 50% growth in organic exports in 2018-19, reaching Rs 5,151 crore, according to government estimates.

"Small-scale exports from Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland to the United Kingdom, the United States, Swaziland, and Italy have demonstrated the potential by increasing quantities and extending to new destinations as demand for health foods grows," the official statement noted.

The ministry believes that the presence of aggregators is necessary to bring about economies of scale for small and marginal farmers to benefit them with better bargains and no intermediaries. "The establishment of more clusters in the proximity of larger towns, where the need for organics will be much greater, is being promoted, as is the concept of market-led 'One district - One product.'"

How Did Sikkim become an Organic State?

The most inspirational story comes from India's smallest and youngest state. Sikkim was once considered one of India's poorest states, with 35% living in poverty. Still, it ranks among the top income-generating states with a low percentage of poverty. Philippe, one of our colleagues, explains how they could pull it off.

Sikkim has become a leader in sustainable development over the last two decades. It is also the first and only state in India to attain 100% sanitation coverage and be devoid of open defecation. They are virtually fully literate, and they are the only state to increase their forest cover, which now covers about half of the state's area. Sikkim became India's first and only state to proclaim itself organically in 2016.

It was not simple for Sikkim to shift to a 100 per cent organic state. The farms are modest and numerous, located on the Himalayas' terraced and steep slopes. The state government provided a robust policy framework and training in agroecological farming to the state's 66,000 farmers. In the first few years, many crops failed, causing agriculture production to plummet. Synthetic fertilisers were abruptly removed from the soil, and it took several years for the earth to reclaim its natural fertility.

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FAQs About Organic State in India

Which state is India’s first fully organic state?

Sikkim is India’s first fully organic state.

Which other states have become fully organic apart from Sikkim?

Tripura and Uttarakhand have now become fully organic states in India.