January 18, 2016, Sikkim was declared as the first Organic Farming State of India when Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially announced during inaugurating the Sikkim Organic Festival in the year 2016 at Gangtok, Sikkim during the time of the then SDF Government. And this year the sixth aniversary of Sikkim achieving the milestone of organic farming.
However, the practice of organic farming in Sikkim started 13 years back before it was declared to be the organic state in India.
For being a organic state Sikkim also won the future policy Gold Award from the UN food and Agriculture after drubbing 51 nominations from the World Wide.
Pawan Chamling former Chief Minister on Sikkim Organic day said, “Our government took a policy decision to achieve this ambitious goal by adopting a resolution in the Legislative Assembly in 2003. Agriculture is a state subject and this was the reason why we instituted a state policy to convert Sikkim into a fully organic state. Had agriculture been a centre subject, we would not have been able to pursue this mission. We took a daring stand as a state to formulate the organic policy and set up the necessary system to do what no other state had yet dared to do. Today, our policy has been lauded by the centre government and organizations across the globe. India is also the country with the largest output of organic products globally and Sikkim is a big reason behind this achievement. This is Sikkim’s contribution to the nation. Furthermore, I am certain that it is possible to make India the first organic country in the world and for this, all of us – farmers, policy makers, civil society, scientists – must work together.”
On safeguarding the environment he said, “India can set an example at a time when organic agriculture is the need of the hour. Humanity has lived through several revolutions which have changed the way we live. From the industrial revolution to the digital revolution, we have seen the world transform into becoming more efficient and productive. However, efficiency and productivity at the cost of our environment is dangerous and short-sighted. It is only the organic revolution which will truly achieve the aims of the revolutions that have come before it. Without organic revolution, all other revolutions are incomplete. Productivity and protection of the environment have to go hand in hand.”
Chamling also alleged the ruling front SKM saying that ‘SKM government has put Sikkim’s organic mission completely in the back-burner’ in which he said, “Though Sikkim has set such a high benchmark in the history of agriculture, it is with sadness I must point out that the SKM government has put Sikkim’s organic mission completely in the back-burner. The organic mission has been totally wiped out of the government’s vocabulary and state budget. Not a single penny has been allocated towards organic farming. Even more alarming is that chemical fertilizers are being brought into the state and are freely sold in the market.”
“Organic Sikkim is an asset not just for us Sikkimese people but for the entire global community. We made Sikkim an inspiration for the world showing that 100% organic is not just a distant dream: that it is achievable. However, the current SKM government by erasing the organic mission is destroying the inspiration that Sikkim is for the states across the globe which too aspire to become completely organic. When springs dry up, we lose a source of water. Similarly, when Sikkim no longer serves as an inspiration, millions of people and states across the world who aspire for the organic way may be derailed and discouraged. This is a huge loss to the world.”
In addition Chamling also alleged SKM government in which he said, “It is also strange that the SKM government is trying to erase the very thing by which the world recognizes Sikkim by. This government does not understand the value of our organic brand. I urge the government rise above petty politics and continue to do the work which is in the interest of Sikkim and its people, irrespective of whether it is an SDF legacy or not. I feel happy that though critics say that SDF didn’t do anything in 25 years, it is our own policy of organic farming that gives an identity to Sikkim and the Sikkimese people. The world recognizes Sikkim due to its organic brand. We have done a lot of work in 25 years which has given global recognition and identity to the people of Sikkim, one of which is Organic Farming. Even though critics refuse to recognize our pioneering work in agriculture, they are forced to introduce Sikkim as the first organic state when they travel beyond our borders. Despite what people say, SDF’s contribution to Sikkim by making it the first organic state is a global milestone that no one can destroy. “
“So on this historic day, I congratulate the people of Sikkim for achieving this grand feat of becoming the first 100% organic state in the world. I know how difficult it was and how much perseverance and hard work it took to make organic Sikkim possible. It took the contributions and dedication of thousands of farmers, officers, resource persons and many more. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for believing in the organic vision. I salute those who are still continuing organic practices till today. We have written our name in history with our organic story. Let us pledge to continue to keep our organic practices alive.” Concluded Chamling