Respected Dr Vandana Shiva ji, President of Navdanya International, Member of World Future Council, Hon’ble Rossella Muroni, Hon’ble Filippo Gallinella, Hon’ble Federico Fornaro, Hon’ble Maria Chiara Gadda, Madam Lucio Cavazzoni, esteemed Members of press and media, ladies and gentlemen
My Minister colleagues Mr. Somnath Poudyal and Member of Indian Parliament from Sikkim, Mr. P.D. Rai, Mr. Khorlo Bhutia, Secretary Horticulture, my wife Smt. Tika Maya Chamling and my daughter Komal join me to offer our warm greetings and felicitation to this distinguished gathering and on behalf of the people of the Himalayan State of Sikkim in India.
I am indeed very grateful to be here. I am not a scientist or researcher. I am simply a politician who experienced and led the transformation of a State of India, Sikkim, from one which used chemical fertilizers to one which is now a fully organic state. It has taken us over a decade to do this. But due to our perseverance, political will, sincerity and hard work we have been able to achieve this. That is why this is regarded as the ‘Policy of the Future’ and will be emulated widely within India and all over the world.
We started the Organic Mission in 2003 by adopting a Resolution in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly.
When we announced this Policy, we faced lot of difficulties and hurdles from the Opposition parties and farming community. Seventy percent of the population are farmers in Sikkim. We faced initial reservation and big challenges from a large agricultural population in the State. It was not as simple as going back to traditional farming. We faced lot of criticism and opposition. But because of our political will, dedication and hard work we were successful.
In January 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, came to Sikkim and declared Sikkim as a fully Organic State. He praised our efforts and asked all other States to take lessons from Sikkim. He has reiterated this position many times and from many forums including the Parliament of India. Hence, India is being inspired by our work. We also know that more and more States are nurturing this exercise like Kerala and the other North Eastern States of India.
Sikkim has led from the front under my long tenure as Chief Minister. We have legislated on a number of ‘green’ public policies.
1. Sikkim Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act 1997
2. Sikkim Prohibition of Smoking & Non-Smokers’ Health Protection Act, 1997
3. Sikkim Forest (Compounding of Offenses) Rules, 1998
4. Sikkim Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Amendment Act, 1998
5. Harit Kranti Dashak from 2000-2010
6. Sikkim (Detection, Enquiry & Disposal of Forest Offenses Rules, 2002)
7. Sikkim Private & Other Non-Forest Lands Tree Felling Rules, 2006
8. Sikkim State Biological Diversity Rules, 2006
9. Glacier and Climate Change Commission 2007
10. Sikkim Non-biodegradable Garbage (Control) Amendment Rules 2008
11. Sikkim Eco-tourism Policy 2012
12. Kanchenjunga National Park declared as UNESCO World Heritage site 2016
13. Forest Cover of 43.95% in 1993 has increased to 47.80% in 2015 – which is an increase of over 4%
14. Sikkim Forest Trees (Amity and Reverence) Rules, 2017 notified for forging brotherhood relationship with trees as mit
Ladies and Gentlemen
Your keenness to know more is both justified and reasonable. We in Sikkim would also equally be keen to know what is the progress elsewhere on this front. We are aware that we do not know much and there is huge scope for learning from each other.
Based on my long experience and association with the Organic initiative, I can tell you in all good faith and confidence that a 100 percent organic world is possible. If we could do it in Sikkim, there is no reason why policy makers, farmers and community leaders cannot do the same elsewhere in the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Even as we look to the future we have to think about the youth. Especially in India where we are a nation of young people.
We have to make Organic Agriculture more fashionable and more exciting. This can be done if we can position it correctly. I am happy to say that it is happening in our State where young, educated farmers are growing all kinds of exotic fruits and vegetables and connecting to markets in cities like Bangalore and New Delhi.
Finally I would like to appeal to all that we need to approach development in a way that it is environmentally friendly and good for the planet. If we are to heed to the warnings of the climate scientists then we have to stop the use of chemical fertilizers globally by over fifty percent immediately. This will reduce the carbon dioxide emissions by half.
Also it will substantially add to the 1 percent organic farming that is there currently around the globe.
Finally, ladies and gentlemen, I appeal to one and all for taking this leap of faith. We need to stop polluting our Mother Earth. What we need to do is have the action of non-violence through organic farming. A simple but hugely effective way of living.
Thank you. My best of wishes to all of you