Sikkim leads the way
Nature is a perennial giver. But as is our wont, we have forgotten to be grateful to nature and have been tremendously destructive towards it. Be it land, water, or air, we have not left any of the natural resources unpolluted. Hence, it is a pleasant surprise to see someone working towards nature restoration and more so when it is a collective initiative.
The Indian state of Sikkim, after continuous efforts of its people and the state government for more than 10 years, has gone completely organic by implementing practices on around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land. Declared as India’s first fully organic state in January 2016, this Himalayan state made the use of chemical fertilisers a criminal offence and became India’s first 100 per cent organic state. Today, the farming practices in Sikkim are totally free of chemical-based fertilisers and pesticides, which enables consumers to have access to risk-free food options. These practices also make cultivation eco-friendlier. According to experts in the field, organic practices help in building soil health, which results in sustainably increased crop production. However, this initiative too had to face its share of criticism initially by the local farmers. The state government then had to ban the supply of chemical fertilisers, hence indirectly forcing the farmers to go green.
Almost all agricultural pests have natural enemies. The loss or even decline of such pest-eating predators can have a massive impact on the agricultural ecosystem. Organic farming maintains this ecosystem and keeps the water supplies clean of toxic runoff, thus protecting the aquatic life. Soil Association, an international organisation for organic cultivation, notes that a typical organic field has five times the wild plants and 57 per cent more animal species than a conventionally cultivated farm. The State government also introduced organic farming as a subject in school curriculum to sensitise the students towards sustainable and natural living and the significance of an organic ecosystem untouched by man-made invasions. To spread awareness about organic composting, the government also installed thousands of composting pits across the state.
To keep the organic movement mobile, we, the consumers, must also equally participate. Let us buy organically grown food sourced directly from the farmers so that they earn greater profits and continue to produce organic yield. This will ensure a gradual decline in the conventional farming practices and consequently, a boost in the health of our land.
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