Sikkim bans entry of non-organic foods
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By Pure & Eco India magazine & www.pureecoindia.in
Drying of maize in the eco village Budang in Sikkim. Photo © Karin Heinze
Consolidating its organic stance further, the government of Sikkim has recently announced a ban on the supply of all perishable vegetables, mangoes and bananas into the state, from March 31 onwards.
The ban forms the 2nd phase of the state’s Organic Mission. Following the 2nd phase, after 2019, Sikkim will also ban onions and potatoes, as well as, livestock products from outside the state, in its endeavour to remain a 100% chemical free. “A major cause of cancer is ingestion of chemically treated foods. Being a 100% organic state, we have banned the entry of bananas and mangoes, as they are heavily treated with chemicals,” says Khorlo Bhutia, principal director, Horticulture and Cash Crop Development Department, Government of Sikkim.
Sikkim aspires to phase out any dependency on imported foods
The state is already growing bananas, and, Bhutia says the Sikkimese people “will not miss chemically treated mangoes” even as the climate of the state does not accommodate mango cultivation. Ultimately, Sikkim aspires to phase out any dependency on imported foods and eventually become self sufficient.
“Our aim is to reduce import of produce from outside in order to truly be organic not only in cultivation but also in consumption. This will have long term impact on the state’s health, tourism and carbon footprint. No visitor to Sikkim will have to endure impure food,” says Bhutia.
In order to fullfil its goal of reaching food independence, the state has begun to encourage its people to grow their own produce and is also coaching them on how to make organic inputs at home. Having already planned the ban on onions and potatoes after 2019, the state has upped onion production in anticipation.
Bhutia is confident Sikkim will not observe a deficiency following the March 31 ban. “Last year, we had a 104-day bandh due to Gorkha agitation and we did not fall short in the least. We are growing enough to meet the needs of our people and the things we cannot grow we will not miss due to the repercussions of consuming chemically treated foods,” says he.
Watch the video to lern more about Sikkim Organic State and read our earlier report.
Pure & Eco India is an Indian print magazine focusing on South Asia’s organic sector, and www.pureecoindia.in is its digital representation.