How good is CSE at nit Sikkim

Sikkim is the world's first organic state - with parallels to Switzerland

Whether cows or goats, turmeric or tea, the farmers in the Indian state of Sikkim only produce organic quality.

It took the small Himalayan state a good 12 years until its agriculture was completely converted to organic.

Organic state by law

For around two and a half years, neither artificial fertilizers nor chemical pesticides have been applied or sprayed on the Sikkim fields. They are no longer available in the state, prohibited by law.

And that in India of all places, the land of pesticide scandals, cotton monocultures and poisonous rivers, as the business magazine “Brand eins” puts it in a nutshell.

Destroyed environment as a trigger

However, it was precisely these environmental sins that were the trigger, which is why the Sikkim government decided in 2003 to trim the entire state to organic.

Landscape mood in the north of Sikkim. Photo: © OJO / iStock / Getty Images Plus

This makes Sikkim the first state in the world that has voluntarily committed itself to exclusively organic production. More precisely, the government under Prime Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling.

Organic thanks to mountains

But even before the changeover, Sikkim used much less artificial fertilizer than other countries in the world.

In addition, the mountainous state has good prerequisites for organic farming, because the topography means that the cultivable areas are fragmented. "Mechanized agriculture is difficult there," says agricultural ecologist Sabine Zikeli to "Brand Eins". Heavy tractors and the rest of the vehicle fleet won't get you very far in the Himalayas.

Photo: © OJO / iStock / Getty Images Plus

“A connection can also be observed in Europe between mountains and organic farming,” says the agroecologist. There are also an above-average number of organic farmers in Switzerland and Austria.

In fact, Austria and Sweden are among the pioneers in organic farming. However, the world leader in organic cultivation area is Liechtenstein with a share of 37.7 percent (2016).

Organic canton of Graubünden

In 2017, Switzerland recorded 14.4 percent organic agricultural area, which corresponds to 11,000 hectares.

Within Switzerland, the canton of Graubünden has the largest share of organic farms with 60.1 percent, followed by Obwalden and Glarus, according to Bio Suisse figures.

Graphic © Bio Suisse

Organic products are also increasingly being found in the shopping basket of the Swiss, as the latest figures show.

However, no country in Europe can come close to conditions like in Sikkim.

3 months in prison

The Sikkimese are a very nature-loving people. Nevertheless, the government has invested a lot in converting the 76,000 hectares of agricultural land to organic. And not only that.

The Yumthang Valley in the north of Sikkim. Photo: © traveler1116 / E +

Today, farmers who disregard organic laws face up to three months in prison. And they pay a minimum fine of 25,000 rupees (around 360 francs). The same applies to the import and sale of artificial fertilizers or chemical pesticides.

Admittedly, for many this is an unthinkable scenario and sounds more like an organic requirement. And in fact, not all farmers are completely happy with the organic stamp.

The environmental magazine "Down to Earth" quotes a non-representative study from November 2016. The Indian environmental organization Center for Science and Environment (CSE) has visited 16 larger farms. "The farmers' experiences with organic farming are anything but satisfactory," it says. For example, the promised training courses for farmers would take place too seldom.

The hill town of Pelling is popular with tourists. Photo: © Aapthamithra / iStock / Getty Images Plus

According to the study, the yields are also far below those before the changeover. The university scientist Laxuman Sharma was involved in the certification of the first organic village in Sikkim. He also sees clear room for improvement: “Above all, we urgently need a public-private partnership to relieve the government. There is hardly a free market for seeds, compost or biopesticides. What the farmers receive is made available to them by the government ”, he told“ Brand eins ”.

Read the entire report from “Brand eins”

The magazine “Organic17” also wrote a report on the organic state of Sikkim.

You can find all the facts and figures on Swiss organic production in 2017 here.

Author: Sabina Galbiati, July 2018

 

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