Sikkim’s 100% organic farming wins FAO’s Future Policy Gold Award

• Sikkim has won the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Future Policy Gold Award for its achievement in becoming the world’s first totally organic agriculture state.

• The 2018 award announcement on Friday said: “Sikkim is the first organic state in the world.

• All of its farmland is certified organic. At the same time, Sikkim’s approach reaches beyond organic production and has proven truly transformational for the state and its citizens.”

• The state has totally banned the sale and use of chemical pesticides.

Important highlights of this award

• Sikkim sets an excellent example of how other Indian states and countries worldwide can successfully upscale agroecology.

• Nicknamed the “Oscar for best policies”, the award is co-organised with the FAO by The World Future Council (WFC) and IFOAM — Organics International, and recognises “the world’s best laws and policies promoting agroecology”.

• Sikkim beat out 51 other nominees from around the world for the award.

• Brazil, Denmark, Quito and Ecuador shared the Silver award.

• The World Future Council said that Sikkim’s organic farming policies went beyond agriculture and embraced “socioeconomic aspects such as consumption and market expansion, cultural aspects as well as health, education, rural development and sustainable tourism”.

• The transition has benefited more than 66,000 farming families.

• Simultaneously the tourism sector has benefited greatly from the state’s transition to organic farming with the number of visitors increasing by over 50 per cent between 2014 and 2017.

What is Organic Farming?

• Organic farming is an alternative agricultural system which originated early in the 20th century in reaction to rapidly changing farming practices.

• It relies on fertilizers of organic origin such as compost manure, green manure, and bone meal and places emphasis on techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting. Biological pest control, mixed cropping and the fostering of insect predators are encouraged.

• In general, organic standards are designed to allow the use of naturally occurring substances while prohibiting or strictly limiting synthetic substances. For instance, naturally occurring pesticides such as pyrethrin and rotenone are permitted, while synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are generally prohibited. Synthetic substances that are allowed include, for example, copper sulfate, elemental sulfur and Ivermectin.

• Genetically modified organisms, nanomaterials, human sewage sludge, plant growth regulators, hormones, and antibiotic use in livestock husbandry are prohibited. Reasons for advocation of organic farming include advantages in sustainability,openness, self-sufficiency, autonomy/independence, health, food security, and food safety.

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Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country

Prelims level: Sikkim Organic Mission

Mains level: Significance of the international recognition in promotion of organic farming practice at pan-India level.

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