Gangtok: Sikkim, which started eco-friendly farming from a small area of land about a decade ago, is set to become a fully organic state by 2015, a senior state official has said.
"The entire state will be converted into a certified organic state by 2015. Our schemes and policies are well tuned to realise that goal," Sikkim Agriculture Secretary Vishal Chauhan said in Gangtok.
According to him, structured organic farming started in the state in 2003 when the government set up the dedicated Sikkim State Organic Board to promote farm techniques that prohibit the use of manufactured synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
"Our Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling, had also introduced a resolution in the assembly seeking to convert entire farming in the state to organic. Now, our farming relies on techniques such as green manure, compost, biological pest control and crop rotation."
Over 8,000 hectares of land was covered under organic farming between 2003 to 2009. In a bid to make the state fully organic, various state government agencies have been working in coordination.
The state government has completely stopped lifting of quota of chemical fertilizers extended by the Government of India since 2006-07 and all sales points for chemical fertilizers in public and private sector have been shut.
Sikkim government has also promoted large-scale use of bio-fertilisers and provides certified manufactured organic manure to farmers as an alternative to their chemical substitures, Chauhan said.
In order to provide alternatives to farmers, 24,536 rural compost units and 14,487 vermi-compost units were constructed in farmers' fields till 2009.
The bio-village programme was also adopted in 2003 and around 400 villages were adopted by the state government till 2009 to benefit some 14,000 farmers and 14,000 acres of land in four districts of the state.
"We have also launched the comprehensive 'Sikkim Organic Mission' as a nodal agency to implement and monitor the programme in time-bound manner. A state-level apex body with the chief minister as its chair oversees the implementation," the official said.
"Under the new initiative, the government has set a target to implement fully-organic farming technique by 2015. Organic products sell at a premium, which will benefit over 50,000 families in the state and promote organic agro-tourism."
According to latest data, Sikkim produces some 80,000 million tonnes of farm products, including 45,890 million tonnes of ginger, 3,510 million tonnes of large cardamom, 2,790 million tonnes of turmeric, 4,100 million tonnes of buckwheat, 3,210 million tonnes of urad daal and 20,110 million tonnes of mandarin oranges.
"Significant portion of these products are already organic."