Hailed as a land of peace and tranquility, Sikkim – the Northeast State of India recently has been bestowed with the recognition by the World Book of Records, London for being the ‘World’s first organic state.

The recognition highlights the fact that Sikkim became the first state in the world to implement a 100% organic policy. Along with this, Sikkim has also been recognised as the ‘Crime free state’ by the World Book of Records London.

The story of success commenced in the year 2016 when Sikkim became India’s first 100% organic state. This has been possible with the State’s policy to eliminate the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, further providing access to safer food choices and making agriculture a more environment-friendly activity.

From 2016 on, the state has been bestowed with various recognitions including the prestigious Future Policy Gold Award from the UN Food and Agriculture (FAO), after beating 51 nominations from around the globe.

When does it all start?

An amalgamation of the Himalayas, Forests, Pastures and Steep Mountains – Sikkim has a fragile ecosystem. In 2003, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling envisioned Sikkim to be India’s first organic state. To work towards this target, the state launched the “Organic Mission,” an action plan in 2010

that defined the measures to be implemented in order to reach the target of converting the entire state to organic. It is pertinent to note that between 2010-2014, budget allocation was focused on building the capacity of farmers, rural service providers, certification bodies, and supporting farmers in acquiring certification

Eliminating Chemical Fertilizers

The state policy has emphasised extensively enhancing soil fertility, preserving water quality, and increasing biodiversity at the field and landscape level. The government also took steps to improve soil health management and extended support to farmers to perform 40,000 soil tests per year.

Not only this, but the policy also gradually phase out subsidies for synthetic inputs with a conversion strategy that involved training farmers on how to produce organic inputs. During the pilot phase of the mission (2003-2009), the benefits reached more than 100 villages with 10,000 farmers in all four districts of the state

Journey to engage young people

The know-how in any sector is essential to take the practice forward. Today, organic farming has found its place in school curriculums. Various platforms for knowledge exchange have been established,

including livelihood, schools, two organic centres of Excellence and three organic farming training centres, which engage unemployed youths.

The National Organic Farming Research Institute was established in 2016 to provide technical support to organic production systems, not only in Sikkim but in the whole North East Hills Region of India.