India’s First Fully Organic State Faces Many Challenges to Maintaining Its Status



sikkim fully organicSikkim, the picturesque northeastern Indian state in the eastern Himalayas, announced in January that it had transitioned completely to organic agriculture — the first state in the South Asian nation to do so.

“It was a matter of patience, but thankfully we ultimately achieved the status of 100 per cent organic farming with the completion of organic certification of all agricultural land in Sikkim,” says Dr. S. Anbalagan, the executive director of Sikkim Organic Mission.

But does this euphoria match the ground reality in Sikkim? Many agricultural experts say that a lot more needs to be done before agricultural practices in this mountain state can be held up as a role model for the rest of India where rampant use of pesticides and fertilizers has become a serious issue.

Rajeswari Sarala Raina, senior scientist at the National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies says that in making plans for organic agriculture, the leaders in Sikkim seem to have avoided discussions on two major issues — food self-sufficiency and nutritious food for all Sikkimese.

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