Indian State of Sikkim's Farms to be Entirely Organic by 2015

sikkim photo

photo: Giridhar Appaji via flickr

Nestled in between Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan the small Indian state of Sikkim is probably best known for its mountainous beauty and as being home to the red panda, but by 2015 it's going to have another notable distinction: Converting all its farms to certified organic agriculture. The Economic Times reports that the state has been slowing use of chemical fertilizer since 2003 and has currently converted 6,000 of its 70,000 hectares of farm land.

Human Health, Environment, Tourism All Hoped to Benefit
Initially the chemical phase-out was done because of the effects on soil, water and human health, but the state also hopes going organic will boost its tourist economy. "Village tourism in Sikkim will obviously improve. Homestays will become more popular," according to the general secretary of the the state travel agents association.

From a policy angle, the phase-out began with the ending of a government subsidy on chemical fertilizers, then three years later retail commission subsidies were also withdrawn and a seven-year plan adopted for entirely ending their use.

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