Sikkim is located in northeast India, on the border with Bhutan, Tibet, and Nepal. It is part of the Himalayas, and forests, pastures and steep mountainsides make up most of Sikkim’s fragile ecosystem. It is also home to 66,000 farmers.
In 2003, the previous chief minister (Mr Pawan Kumar Chamling) began the process of making Sikkim 100 % organic. This ambitious goal was achieved in 2015 when Sikkim became the first fully organic state in the world. This session – run by farmers in Sikkim – will share how it was done, how they are sustaining it and planning to ensure its future.
They will explain how their work is geared towards farmer training – working with universities and government organizations – and assisting farmers to find a fair market. And how throughout this process they have witnessed a strengthening in their community and a greater sense of empowerment, particularly amongst women.
Farmers have gained knowledge and, through shared experience, there is a deeper understanding and connectedness with nature. Medicinal plants are being raised and seeds of indigenous varieties preserved – bringing together our traditional methods, biodynamics and modern technology”. They view this entire process as an interconnected system, each aspect supporting the others – a complete, efficient and beneficial way to develop the health, community and culture of Sikkim. Their future focus is on encouraging more young people to get involved.
General Secretary of the Sikkim Farmers Producers’ Organisation, Tshering Ongmu Bhutia says “It is truly a pleasure to have this opportunity to share Sikkim’s knowledge of organic farming, which we hope can be helpful and encouraging for other people across the world”.