Action Plan 2003
Framing of Action Plan 2003
The first step in the process of making the shift towards organic was to get rid of the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, creating awareness among farmers for the benefits of organic food. To implement this vision, Department of Agriculture, Sikkim prepared a concept paper and Action Plan in 2003 entitled “Going for Organic Farming in Sikkim – A Concept Paper and Action Plan, May 2003” with the following objectives and prospective road map:
Main objectives are:
- to promote Sikkim as an organic state
- to outline measures to discourage use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides and gradually substitute plant nutrients by organic manures and fertilizers as well as to control diseases and insect pests by biological means.
- to begin with basic infrastructure and statutory development, pre-requisite to initiation of actual organic farming in Sikkim.
- to create or develop markets for organic food produce along with the evolvement of related strategies.
- to formulate a policy of organic farming in Sikkim.
Taking into consideration the various advantages and disadvantages as well as the present status of fertilizer and pesticide consumption, there were two clear-cut approaches needed to be adopted in Sikkim:
- Firstly, discourage use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides and substitution of chemical inputs by organic manures and fertilizers and biological plant protection measures.
- Secondly, initiate establishment of basic infrastructure and statutory requirements to effect the actual organic farming process in the absence of national policy, standards, accreditation, certification and marketing systems at present.
Abstract details of concept paper and action plan May 2003 can be seen in at Annexure I.
Constitution of Sikkim State Organic Board
Constitution of the “Sikkim State Organic Board” in 2003 was the first official notification to achieve the Sikkim Organic goal. The Government of Sikkim through Gazette notification Dated 17th September 2003 notified the constitution of the “Sikkim State Organic Board” (SSOB) with following objectives and mandate:
- To address the basic requirement of organic crop production, wild crop harvesting, organic livestock management and processing and handling of organic agricultural products.
- To develop state organic standards, listing out allowed synthetic and prohibited non-synthetic substances.
- To institute Accreditation Authority for organic farming and foods in the state to administer and register State, National and International accreditation.
- To establish an organic certification programme in the State specifying record keeping and labeling requirements.
- To formulate organic regulations for producers and handlers in the State in relation to Government, private and foreign organic certification programmes and in the interest of State.
- To administer enforcement and appeal procedures to make sure all certified organic operations are/would be in compliance with the National Organic programme.
- To make recommendations to the Government to support organic schemes and programmes in the state.
- To advise the Government in creating a sustainable and competitive organic food and farming sector through appropriate action plans by identifying ways of achieving sustainable growth in organic farming and processing by increasing share of market for organic produce through organic market promotion programmes and by identifying measures required in the distribution, processing and retailing sectors to promote overall growth in the organic sector.
- To provide some confidence to farmers for conversion to organic production with various Government interventions to guarantee them a market for their products as well as to ensure remunerative on-farm harvest and retail prices for organic foods.
- To evaluate the whole process of organic programme in the State in terms of economic, social and environmental aspects and benefits.
Official Notification on constitution of Sikkim State Organic Board can be seen in Annexure II.
Discouraging Chemical Fertilizers and Promoting Farm Manure
Banning Synthetic Fertilizers and Pesticides:
In May 2003, the State Government withdrew its subsidy on fertilizers. From 2006-07 onwards transport and handling subsidy and commission to retailers were also withdrawn. Simultaneously, the Government adopted a seven-year plan to wipe out the use of chemical fertilizers and to gradually replace them with organic sources.
Focused approach was adopted to direct resources to implement the following strategies:
- Creation of rural compost units at farmstead
- Construction of vermicompost units
- Integrated Nutrient Management demonstrations with on-farm and off-farm organic and biological inputs
- Biofertilizer demonstrations
- EM technology demonstrations
- Integrated Pest Management
- Capacity building through training and exposure visits
- Establishment of biofertilizer unit
- Upgradation of soil testing laboratory
- Amendment of acidic soil
- Organic certification
- Development of organic package of practices through research.
As a first step two Government farms at Nazitam (East Sikkim) and Mellidara (South Sikkim) were converted to “Centre of Excellence for Organic Farming” and necessary research and adaptive trials were started to work out appropriate organic package of practices.