Sikkim’s organic agriculture mission sounds wonderful and inspiring. But it wasn’t without its shortcomings. Sikkim had started the organic mission in 2003 in order to protect the fragile ecosystem of the place. The organic mission had a promising start but there definitely are many problems cropping up.
Let’s look at a few today!
There are pests attacks on ginger crops. Sikkim’s farmers are facing problems with pest attacks on ginger. Earlier they were used to using pesticides but now have turned to organic farming, they do not know how to deal with it.
Reverting to cow dung and urine as a pesticide has not been very useful for them.
Sikkim is still largely dependent on West Bengal for food. Sikkim farmers have not noticed much of an increase in the yield. Sikkim largely focuses on cash crops and this is not enough to feed the tourists. Sikkim’s organic farming is not benefitting their population as most of the food the population consumes is from West Bengal.
Sikkim seeks to promote their products under the tag of ‘Sikkim Organic’ in niche sections of international airports and markets. However, a lot of the produce is still sold by middlemen. These people do not care much about the organic tag. Hence, a lot of Sikkim’s vegetables are still sold without marketing to their ‘organic’ tag.
What can Sikkim do?
- Ensure greater focus on farmer education
- Assess performance of the policy
- Get data on frequency of pest attacks
- Demand the price that the farmers deserve
- Enable local consumers to have access to the food