KOLKATA -- Sikkim has become India's first fully organic state by converting around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land into sustainable cultivation.
"We have achieved fully-organic status in the end of December. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will formally announce this at a sustainable agriculture conference in Gangtok on January 18," Sikkim Organic Mission's executive director Dr Anbalagan told PTI.
He said around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land was gradually converted to certified organic land by implementing organic practices and principles as per guidelines laid down in National Programme for Organic Production.
It was 12 years ago in 2003 when the Pawan Chamling-led government decided to make Sikkim an organic farming state through a declaration in the legislative assembly.
Later the entry of chemical inputs for farmland was restricted and their sale banned. Farmers therefore had no option but to go organic.
Organic cultivation is free of chemical pesticides and chemical fertilisers as it tries to strike a harmonious balance with a complex series of ecosystems.
In the long term, organic farming leads in subsistence of agriculture, bio-diversity conservation and environmental protection, agriculture secretary Khorlo Bhutia said.
Sustainable farming will also help in building the soil health resulting in sustainable increased crop production, he said.
Besides it will also boost the tourism industry in the tiny landlocked Himalayan state.
Resorts have already been marketing themselves as completely organic where tourists can pluck, cook and relish fresh organic food from their kitchen gardens.
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