Sikkim by promoting agroecological and sustainable food systems has bagged the honor of being the ‘100 percent organic state’. The state beat 51 other nominees from around 25 countries and conferred the ‘Oscar for best policies’ by the Food and Agriculture Organisation. The state has become the country’s first 100 percent organic state and the cleanest state as well.
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The north-eastern state of India was honored during the World Food Week at headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy. The state also bagged the Future Policy Award 2018 for its efforts in attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The award function held every year and it awards efforts in different social issues such as desertification, violence against women and girls, nuclear weapons and pollution of the oceans. This year, the category was thwarting chemical use, using crop residues as compost, afforestation and crop rotation for improving the soil quality and protection against pests.
Here are some of the policies of Sikkim that helped the state to be honored with this award:
Sikkim started the practice of organic farming from the year 2003 and became India’s first state to officially adopt this farming type. Organic farming makes sure to give long-term sustenance of soil fertility. It gives the protection of environment and ecology and helps in promoting healthy living.
The Deputy Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Maria-Helena Semedo said that “Sikkim’s experience shows that 100 percent organic is no longer a pipe dream but a reality.”
From the same year when the state adopted organic farming, it stopped the import of chemical fertilizers. Since then the cultivable land in Sikkim is being enriched using organic manure. The state’s land has become organic land.
The transition to organic farming proved beneficial for more than 66,000 farming families. Also, the state’s tourism has grown by 50 percent between 2014 and 2017.
Today, the state bagged an award for being 100 percent organic state but it had to struggle a lot in the early transition phase as the government banned the consumption of non-organic agricultural and horticultural items. However, with time the shortage of vegetables in the state had come to an end.
The director of the World Future Council, Alexandra Wandel said, “Sikkim sets an excellent example of how other countries worldwide can successfully upscale agroecology.”
Brazil and Denmark bagged the second prize for a policy of buying food for school meals from organic family farms and for encouraging people to buy more organic food.