Sikkim: An Organic Vision Becomes Reality

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Author: Karin Heinze | Published: May 12, 2017

Sikkim, a small northeastern Himalayan state between Nepal and Bhutan that boarders China in the North, made an important decision in 2010. Chief Minister Sri Pawan Chamling had a visionary goal: he wanted to place the state’s entire agriculture land under organic management. To achieve his goal, Chamling launched the Sikkim Organic Mission and within 15 years, the entire agriculture process was converted to organic, and Sikkim was declared “Organic State“ in 2016. This is a worldwide lighthouse example for further conversion of lands towards a 100% organic status.

The former kingdom of Sikkim (from 1643-1975) is now an Indian state with a “glorious history of agriculture where people and nature lived in perfect harmony.“ (quoted from “Sikkim on the Organic Trail,” a government brochure). Although Sikkim’s population of only 600,000 people living within 7,100 square kilometers (2741 mi), the state enjoys a remarkable biodiversity, with 4,500 flowering plants and 500 species of butterflies, 28 mountain peaks, including Mt. Kangchendzonga, which is 8,586 m (28,169 ft) high, and more than 80 glaciers, 227 high-altitude lakes and 104 rivers. The climate ranges from pleasant weather conditions to tropical and cold alpine weather. Around 70% of the rural population, a multiethnic mix, depend upon agriculture and allied sectors.

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