Organic State Current Affairs - 2019
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Sikkim was awarded UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Future Policy Gold Award (Gold Prize) for its achievement in becoming the world’s first totally organic agriculture state. Sikkim beat out 51 other nominees from around the world for the award. Policies from Brazil, Denmark and Quito (Ecuador) were joinlty Silver Awards.
Future Policy Gold Award
The prizes honour exceptional policies adopted by political leaders who have decided to act, no longer accepting widespread hunger, poverty or environmental degradation. This award in nicknamed the “Oscar for best policies”. Previously it was honoured for policies combating desertification, violence against women and girls, nuclear weapons and pollution of the oceans. This year’s award based on central focus of agroecology policies and was co-organised by FAO, World Future Council (WFC) and IFOAM – Organics International. Agroecology has potential to increase farmers’ earnings and make farms more resilient to climate change as erratic rainfall and extended dry periods hamper food production.
Sikkim is first organic state in the world and all farmlands in the state are certified organic. State’s policy approach reaches beyond organic production and has proven transformational for its citizens. It primarily focuses socioeconomic aspects such as consumption and market expansion, cultural aspects as well as health, education, rural development and sustainable tourism.
The policy implemented by state of organic farming has phased out chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and achieved total ban on sale and use of chemical pesticides in the state. The transition has benefitted more than 66000 farming families in state.
Transition to 100% organic state also has greatly benefited its tourism sector and numbers of tourists have increased by over 50% between 2014 and 2017. With this Sikkim has set excellent example for other Indian states and countries worldwide for successfully upscale agroecology.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
It is specialised agency of UN that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Its parent organization is UN Economic and Social Council (UNESC). It was established on 16 October 1945 and its headquarters are in Rome, It has 194 member states, along with European Union (member organization).
Sikkim has formally become India’s first fully organic state after it successfully implemented organic farming practices on around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land.
Formal declaration in this regard was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after inaugurating the Sikkim Organic Festival 2016 in Gangtok, Sikkim. PM also handed the Organic Certificate to Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling.
The Sikkim Organic Festival 2016 has been organised on the sidelines of the National Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
On this occasion, PM also launched three new orchid species developed in Sikkim which is also known as the Land of Flowers viz. Cymbidium Sardar (named after Sardar Patel), Cymbidium Deen Dayal (named after Deen Dayal Upaddhyay) and Cymbidium Namo (named after Narendra Modi).
- The journey of landlocked Sikkim to become organic state was initiated in 2003 after Pawan Chamling-led government had decided to make state an organic farming state.
- Later state government had banned entry and sale of chemical inputs for farmland in phases and also moved away from subsidies to farmers for purchasing chemical inputs.
- It forced farmers in state to organic cultivation. Since then agricultural land in state was gradually converted to certified organic land by using organic practices.
- For this state had implemented principles ad guidelines prescribed in National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP).
What is organic farming?
- The organic farming is free of chemical inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers. It tries to strike a harmonious balance with a complex series of ecosystems by rejuvenating it.
- This form of agriculture completely relies on traditional techniques such as green manure, green compost, biological pest control and crop rotation.
What are its benefits?
- In the long term, organic farming leads in subsistence of agriculture, bio-diversity conservation and environmental protection.
- It is form of sustainable farming that will also help in building and improving the soil health resulting in sustainable increase in crop production.